Serious Consideration of All Recovery Options
by Morgan True
Seattle Times, May 22, 2009
U.S. District Judge James Redden's recent letter criticizing the federal agencies' proposal for salmon recovery could not come at a better time ["Salmon plan needs more work, judge says," NW Tuesday, May 19]. This comes as a huge relief to me and other concerned Northwest citizens who have watched wild-salmon populations decline while elected officials stand by and watch.
The 2008 Bush-era salmon plan for the Columbia Basin reflects bad science and divisive politics, and it should remain with the last administration. The Obama administration now has its chance to move forward, honor its commitment to the best available science and bring together the people most affected by salmon and river-management issues to solve this problem together. Any credible, science-driven process must look closely at all recovery options, including the removal of four costly dams on the lower Snake River.
In his letter, the judge emphasizes that this plan's habitat-restoration measures are ambiguous and unsupported by science. Scientists didn't approve this plan, and now it is clear the court won't either. As the judge stated, "We cannot afford to waste another decade," and without full and serious consideration of all recovery options, this is most surely what will happen.
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