Coalition Pleased with Appointment of New Judge
by Coalition for Idaho Water
Boise, Idaho - A new federal judge appointed to oversee the Columbia River Basin salmon recovery lawsuits in the Pacific Northwest will bring a welcome set of new, neutral eyes to the case, leaders of the powerful Coalition for Idaho Water said today.
Michael H. Simon, confirmed to the federal bench by the U.S. Senate in June of this year, was assigned to replace Judge James Redden to oversee what has become one of the longest and most contentious legal wrangles in the western United States.
"We are encouraged to see that Judge Simon will now preside over this critical litigation with its profound implications for Idaho. He appears to bring a strong measure of understanding both of the science involved and of the important issues of state water sovereignty. We welcome his legal knowledge and his hands on experience with water issues," said Travis Jones, chairman of the Coalition.
The Coalition for Idaho Water is formed from more than 65 different organizations representing Idaho counties, cities, chambers of commerce, industrial, municipal and commercial water users, and agricultural groups.
Jones noted that the appointment of a new judge in the case means the existing evidence that recovery plans are working will now get a clear and balanced judicial analysis.
Given the ever growing body of evidence that the multi-billion dollar recovery efforts are working, that almost certainly finishes off the one aspect to which opponents of the recovery plans have pinned their hopes in the case - a sympathetic judge.
"The core of the clamor from the plan's opposition has been their demand that the four lower Snake River dams be removed, a unscientific theory that has now been completely discredited and repudiated by years of solid evidence showing that existing recovery plans are working," Jones added.
He cited the continuing trends of record levels of salmon returning to spawning grounds as just one small measurement of the success of on-going recovery efforts.
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