Feigned Concern?by Editors
Idaho Mountain Express, July 20, 2005
Wonders never cease in the Northwest's most enduring tragicomedy--the plight of salmon struggling to survive.
Justice Department attorneys have returned to a special federal appeals court panel in Seattle wringing their hands with feigned worry about salmon being spilled over four Snake and Columbia river dams as a way of helping them survive.
The feds want to end the spillage method, which environmentalists believe is a workable short-term solution.
Concern for the survival of salmon is not Washington, D.C.'s long suit. Survival of the species struggling to migrate to the Pacific through a series of dams has been regarded with cavalier indifference.
Instead of thriving in a natural river habitat, salmon smolts are shredded in hydroelectric turbines or face mortal uncertainty while being barged around the dams and dumped unceremoniously.
Clearly, opposition to the water-spill solution recently ordered by Federal Judge James Redden has nothing to do with worry about salmon being harmed. Rather, the Bonneville Power Administration worries that it stands to lose an estimated $67 million in hydroelectric power income, a virtual pittance compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars in schemes to protect dams rather than salmon.
This cynical maneuver once again illustrates where the Bush administration's real sympathy lies--not with salmon, but the hydroelectric industry and commercial beneficiaries of the dam system.
Were it concerned about the fate of salmon, it long ago would've agreed to consider breaching the small lower Snake River dams and free the salmon to migrate in more of the way nature intended--in less-obstructed rivers.
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