Bush's Visit Goes Beyond a Fish Storyby Editorial Board
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - August 26, 2003
When it comes to salmon, President Bush got one thing right: The goal must be to restore salmon runs and preserve Northwest energy.
It's too early to know, however, whether the region's natural and cultural heritage is being preserved.
A federal judge ruled in May that parts of the current effort fail to meet Endangered Species Act requirements. It's possible the courts next year will order a new review of salmon-protection options, including the removal of four Snake River dams.
As the president noted in Eastern Washington on Friday, a lot is being done to protect salmon. The amount of scientific and governmental effort -- federal, tribal, state and local -- is genuinely impressive.
In part, however, ocean conditions, rather than human efforts, have led to the improved runs. Perhaps, as science and experience improve our strategies, the fish will keep recovering.
It's terrific for the administration to press Congress for additional salmon-recovery money. This is important because the alternative is even more expensive. A report from the non-partisan, business-oriented Washington Research Council provides a timely reminder that dam removal would have costly effects on regional electricity supplies, agriculture and transportation.
Still, there's only one way to settle the dam-removal argument. Make salmon restoration work as well as everyone, including the president, would like to see. You can't argue with success
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