Here is some good news to take home with you over the long weekend.
Earlier this week, Judge James Redden, who is hearing the long-running legal challenge to the Columbia Basin salmon plan,, sent a letter rejecting the federal government's proposal to shoehorn some additions into the 2008 Bush Salmon Plan and call it "good." The judge offered several suggestions to the federal agencies, and has given them until February 19 to decide what they will do.
Last year, as you may recall, Team Obama added a dubious "salmon insurance policy" to the (politically-driven and unscientific) plan crafted by the Bush Administration, adopted the whole package, and submitted it to the judge for approval. This week's letter and order is his response. Judge Redden identified both procedural and substantive shortcomings of the Obama Plan that will need to be addressed in order for the plan to pass legal muster.
In his letter, for example, the judge emphasized that, in order to comply with the Endangered Species Act, this plan must be based on "the best available science. They [federal agencies] cannot rely exclusively on materials that support one position, while ignoring new or opposing scientific information." For more on the science behind the Obama Salmon Plan. For more on the science behind Obama's Salmon Plan, go HERE.
Salmon and fishing advocates, as well as the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, the Spokane Tribe of Washington, and the State of Oregon, are greatly encouraged by the judge's action. We are hopeful that the Obama Administration will decide to make a sharp break with past failures on this issue and sit down with the people of the Northwest to develop a plan that works for both people and salmon, for our economy and our environment.
Have a great weekend and happy President's Day!. Thank you for your support, and look for some additional news on this and other developments early next week - and how you can help!
Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition