60 Minutes Exposes Huge Waste
by Save Our Wild Salmon
Groups Urge President To Stop The Waste And Deliver Solid Salmon Recovery Plan
SEATTLE--In the wake of tonight’s 60 Minutes story on federal agencies wasting billions on ineffective salmon recovery measures in the Snake and Columbia rivers, conservation groups are urging President Clinton to end this waste and deliver a solid salmon plan by the end of this year.
"Federal agencies have wasted billions of dollars because they have failed to follow the strong scientific support for removing the four Lower Snake River dams," said Ben McNitt of the National Wildlife Federation. "60 Minutes showed the nation that avoiding dam removal is wasting billions and is driving salmon to extinction. We urge President Clinton to take this issue away from federal bureaucrats and deliver a final salmon plan with dam removal as its cornerstone."
The current draft federal plan for Columbia and Snake river salmon was released in July and a final version is due out by the end of the year. This draft plan would delay the possibility of dam removal for 15 years. In the interim this draft relies primarily on barging and trucking fish around dams, the very same programs 60 Minutes exposed as an ineffective waste.
"The rest of the country now knows what we have been saying all along: expensive schemes like barging and trucking fish around dams are designed to save dams, not save salmon," said Jeff Curtis of Trout Unlimited. "Unfortunately, the current draft federal salmon plan relies on these same costly failures."
According to yesterday’s edition of The Oregonian, pressure from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bonneville Power Administration buried a May 18th version of the draft federal plan that explicitly called for dam removal.
"The very same federal agencies that are responsible for the wasteful schemes exposed by 60 Minutes are also behind attempts to bury dam removal," said Pat Ford of Save Our Wild Salmon. "There is a very high cost to keeping these dams, both in dollars and salmon extinctions. Bizarre schemes like barging and trucking fish have been an expensive smoke and mirrors job designed to hide the fact that the four federal dams on the Lower Snake River are driving salmon to extinction."
Salmon advocates are urging that the Administration begin preparations now to remove the four Lower Snake River dams in five years, unless salmon populations are firmly on the road to recovery.
"We should stop wasting money building the illusion of salmon recovery, when in fact the salmon are going extinct" said Rob Masonis of American Rivers. "Instead we should remove the four Lower Snake River dams, save both wild salmon and money, and invest the savings in alternative ways of supplying the irrigation, transportation and power from these four dams. President Clinton should ensure that his final salmon recovery plan does just that."
Pat Ford, Save Our Wild Salmon, 208/345-9067
Ben McNitt, National Wildlife Federation, 202/797-6855
Jeff Curtis, Trout Unlimited, 503/827-5700
Rob Masonis, American Rivers, 206/213-0330
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