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Press Releases

Save Our Wild Salmon

Sept 9, 2018

Contact:
Ron Richards, retired commercial salmon fisherman, 360-477-5367
Joseph Bogaard, Save Our wild Salmon Coalition, 206-300-1003

Witnesses for the majority will attack court-guided salmon recovery activities and critical science-based salmon protection measures such ‘spill’ at federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Representative Dan Newhouse will host Congressional Field Hearings in Pasco, WA on Monday, September 10 at 10 am at the Pasco City Council Chambers at 525 N. 3rd Avenue.

Congressman Newhouse says that the hearings are designed to “educate Congress and others about benefits of the federal Columbia River power system and help dispel misinformation.” Salmon and fishing advocates fear that the hearings will be used as a platform to further propagate misinformation, drive key stakeholders apart and make regional community-based solutions more difficult to achieve.

Court-guided salmon recovery activities including ‘spill’ at federal dams are certain to be key subjects at these hearings. HR 3144 was introduced into Congress last year by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and co-sponsored by Rep. Newhouse. As law, this legislation would overturn a 2016 federal court ruling that invalidated the government’s latest salmon plan for the Columbia Basin, roll back court-ordered salmon protections (increased spill at federal dams) and fatally constrain the NEPA review currently underway that should examine all credible salmon protection alternatives in the Columbia Basin - including the removal of four dams on the lower Snake River - in order to protect its endangered wild salmon and steelhead populations from extinction.

As recently reported in Politico, a battle in Congress has broken out over a legislative rider, Section 506 (dubbed the ‘Salmon Extinction Rider’ by conservationists) in the Energy and Water Resources spending bill. Section 506 would roll back 'spill' at federal dams that was put in place by court order last January to help critically endangered salmon and steelhead populations.

Ron Richards, co-founder of Western Gas Resources, former commercial salmon fisherman, and former resident of Richland (WA), “These relentless attacks on salmon recovery activities in the Columbia Basin must stop. They hurt our already-imperiled salmon populations in the Columbia Basin and harm and divide our communities. As a former businessman, retired commercial salmon fisherman and someone who has lived on both sides of the Cascades, I can’t fathom why Representatives Newhouse and McMorris-Rodgers continue to push these kinds of divisive initiatives. Why pit fisherman against farmer? It’s wrong, it’s wasteful, and it’s damaging our economy and environment. These so-called leaders are stuck in the past when we really need to move forward. Fishermen are eager to work with farmers to figure out solutions that work for all of us. Our leaders should be bringing our communities together rather spreading misinformation and driving us apart.

“Lawful, science-based solutions that help both fish and farm can provide a huge economic boost in Eastern Washington, especially if we take advantage of the tremendous scientific talent pool, and the solar and wind power resources available in the greater Tri-Cities region.”

Joseph Bogaard, executive director, Save Our wild Salmon, “Left unchecked, Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers would replace good science with bad politics. It’s that simple. Endangered wild salmon populations in the Columbia and Snake rivers – and the hungry orcas and struggling fishing communities that depend on them - need more help today, not less. Legislation like HR 3144 and Section 506 divides people at a time when we need to come together and work together on shared solutions to our common problems. It is really the only way forward.”

Joseph Bogaard and Ron Richards plan to attend the Congressional Field Hearing Pasco on Monday, Sept. 10.

Links to related information:

HR 3144 legislative language

American Fisheries Society Statement on HR 3144

Scientists’ Letter to Northwest Policymakers re: benefits of spill at the Columbia and Snake River dams (2017)

Snake River Salmon and Steelhead Returns – 1950s – 2017

Congressional Factsheet Opposing HR 3144:

 

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