PORTLAND, Ore. — Today, three former Northwest governors sent a letter to President Obama urging him to abandon a 2008 Bush administration biological opinion (BiOp) for the Columbia-Snake rivers, and pull stakeholders together to create a solutions settlement table. Gov. John Kitzhaber, MD (OR), Gov. Cecil D. Andrus (ID) and Gov. Mike Lowry (WA) are urging the Obama administration to move on from the failure of the past administration and create “lawful, science-based solutions that help people, create jobs, and build the green economy of tomorrow.”
LA Times Blog: Save salmon now, say Ex-Northwest governors
Public News Service: Former NW Governors 'Fillet' Federal Salmon Plan
“The Obama Administration has a great opportunity to provide federal leadership to restore Northwest salmon, protect salmon jobs, and bring people together to find solutions that work for fishermen, farmers, energy users, Tribes and taxpayers,” said Governor Cecil D. Andrus, former Governor of Idaho. “I hope they tackle this job, and they've got my support if they do.” Download a PDF of the letter.
This letter comes in the final weeks of the Obama administration’s review period of the 2008 BiOp, a holdover plan from the Bush administration. Three previous plans have been ruled illegal by the U.S. District Court and Judge Redden, who is presiding over this case, has indicated fatal flaws in the 2008 Bush salmon plan stating in a May letter to parties that: “Federal defendants have spent the better part of the last decade treading water, and avoiding their obligations under the Endangered Species Act… We simply cannot afford to waste another decade.” He added that lower Snake River dam removal must be included as a contingency plan.
The Obama administration has until August 14 to decide how they will proceed with the Bush BiOp. The former governors’ letter highlights the failure of science and law in the Bush salmon plan, and urges the Obama administration to “work with the District Court, plaintiffs, and other parties to make the salmon plan lawful and science-based as quickly as possible . . .”
Echoing the governors’ call this week are more than 90 recreational fishing businesses from across the country, who in a letter opposing the current Bush salmon plan are calling on President Obama to convene a salmon solutions table. More on the recreational fishing business letter.
“We’re talking about much more than a fish here. Salmon equal family-wage jobs, a healthy food source and an integral part of our Pacific Coast way of life,” said Dick Pool, Owner and President of Pro-Troll Fishing Products in Concord, Calif. “In June, the Obama administration made a bold move to protect our California wild salmon with a science-based and lawful plan. Now it’s time they brought this same change to the Columbia-Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest.”