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Commentaries and editorials

Like Fish Out of Water

by Patrick Donovan
Seattle Times, November 13, 2007

Regarding "Fish to survive dam plan, agency says" [Local News, Nov. 1]: Even with a new salmon plan from the Bush administration, it's clear that it will be as ineffective and illegal as before.

From a regular citizen to Washington Democratic Sens. Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and Gov. Christine Gregoire: Here is the textbook description of how political leaders are supposed to act.

First, you acknowledge the crisis. Columbia River Basin salmon are going extinct; fishing communities are in despair; the feds are burning through taxpayer dollars like nobody's business; and the vacuum in political leadership leaves the courts in charge to make decisions. Not good.

Second, you actively seek information to understand the issues and options. For example, the law and science; the fiscal implications and the socio-economic costs and benefits.

Third, you bring stakeholders together. In this instance, fishermen, farmers, tribal communities, ratepayers and conservationists.

Fourth, you craft a solution. In this case, it's time to remove the four outdated lower Snake River dams in order to save salmon and taxpayer money; revitalize our fishing communities; and live up to our tribal-treaty obligations.

Fifth, you get to move on to the next crisis and repeat this very same process.

Pretty basic stuff here, people. After all, people elected you to solve problems not just acknowledge that they exist.

Related Pages:
The opinions and supporting documents are available here.
Idaho's Sockeye: FCRPS Biological Opinion NOAA Fisheries' Executive Summary, 10/31/7

Patrick Donovan, Seattle
Like Fish Out of Water
Seattle Times, November 13, 2007

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