Guest Opinion by Glen Spain and Karl Mueller
Published: August 15, 2011
The Northwest commercial and recreational salmon fishing industries breathed a collective sigh of relief recently when U.S. District Judge James Redden delivered his verdict and rejected as illegal the federal government’s $10 billion plan for Columbia River basin salmon and steelhead.
The judge was more than justified. The Obama administration simply repeated many of the mistakes that sank similar federal plans twice before.
Amidst the competing opinions about what this ruling means, the most important question right now is: “Where do we go from here?”
The administration, Northwest governors and members of Congress face a critical fork in the road. They can hunker down and stay the course on a strategy that has now proven itself a three-time loser.
Or they can choose instead to see the court ruling as an opportunity for our state and region to shift gears dramatically and collaboratively craft a lawful, science-based plan that restores endangered salmon, protects and creates jobs, and expands opportunities for West Coast businesses.