Keep the Focus on Salmon Recoveryby Tri-City Herald
Capital Press - July 19, 2002
The past three months are marked by an apparently increasing reluctance by environmentalists to cooperate on the kinds of collaborative solutions to troubled salmon runs that the federal government is pushing.
Earlier, we mentioned slipping support from environmental groups for water storage, a key part of the region's efforts to supply enough water for irrigators and fish.
Other developments also make us question environmentalists' interests in collaboration.
The Grant Public Utility District, which has spent more than $200 million on salmon protection and has been commended two years in a row for outstanding environmental stewardship, was put on notice in April that the National Wildlife Federation and other environmental and fishing groups plan to sue. The groups claim the PUD hasn't been aggressive enough on saving fish.
The move could be a part of an otherwise low-profile campaign to count the ways salmon-recovery plans are being shortchanged with an eye to next year's reckoning for the federal government to prove it's rebuilding fish runs.
That apparent strategy is all the more reason why this region needs to keep its focus on making real progress. The Bush administration may have put away the federal hammer in favor of a cooperative approach, but those who advocate drastic measures to accomplish salmon recovery will be around much longer.
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