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Salmon Policies are Illegal

by Derek Kimbol
Register-Guard, September 22, 2011

I found Scott Corwin's recent op-ed column to be disingenuous ("No need to rethink salmon plan that pays healthy returns," Sept. 10). The so-called "unprecedented collaboration" on Columbia-Snake basin salmon recovery has ignored many communities in the Northwest.

Here's a case in point: Shortly before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service was to issue its final salmon plan, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco went on a "listening tour" of the Northwest.

As Freedom of Information Act requests have illuminated, Lubchenco was instructed by staff members of Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell not to meet with stakeholders who didn't support the federal government's policies. Basically, if you've got issues to raise with the policymakers at NOAA, or the Bonneville Power Administration, you're not invited to the party.

Shortsighted federal management of salmon has equated again to illegal policy. The Nez Perce Tribe, Spokane Tribe, the state of Oregon and hundreds of salmon-dependent businesses throughout the Northwest stand ready for a new conversation.

All parties with a stake in the ongoing legal battle -- including the utilities that Corwin represents -- should lay down their swords and craft a solution that works for salmon, farmers, fishermen, tribes and energy users.

That agreement will require serious commitment from our representatives in Congress. Leaders in the Northwest, such as Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, have publicly supported a new path.

It's time to move the ball forward.

Derek Kimbol
Salmon Policies are Illegal
Register-Guard, September 22, 2011

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