Portland, OR – Today, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber announced his support for a new approach to salmon restoration on the Columbia-Snake Rivers, one that brings people together to resolve this issue and finds common ground in a debate that has lasted 20 years. In his op-ed published in the Oregonian online today, the Governor cites litigation success but a need to do more, sooner for Northwest salmon and jobs.
Stated Governor Kitzhaber, “By gathering the parties around a table, and working in good faith to reach common ground on a fisheries plan that is supported by sound science, we can come to the 2014 deadline with an historic agreement that ends the 20-year chapter of salmon wars in the Columbia basin, an agreement that protects fish while maintaining our supply of clean and affordable energy.”
Said SOS executive director Pat Ford, “On behalf of the many businesses and countless citizens working to restore healthy Northwest salmon populations and to rebuild the jobs that they support - we applaud Governor Kitzhaber for his leadership. The Governor understands how a strong economy and healthy environment go hand-in-hand. Working together, we will recover salmon, create jobs, and expand our region’s clean energy sector.”
"Healthy wild salmon populations and healthy rivers to which they return are important for our business and the recreation industry across the US. The recreation economy, which we're a part of, contributes $200 billion to the west coast each year and is growing," said Paul Fish, president and CEO of Mountain Gear, based in Spokane, WA. "Governor Kitzhaber's' vision to involve the affected communities and stakeholders in finding a viable solution is a huge step forward."
Added Bill Arthur, deputy national field director for the Sierra Club, “The status quo policies of the federal agencies for wild salmon over the past decade have failed our salmon, communities, and region. The path forward that Governor Kitzhaber is suggesting is a badly needed breath of fresh air and offers the opportunity for all serious parties and stakeholders to help create a real solution. We applaud his leadership and vision and call on the Administration to embrace this positive and solutions-oriented approach."
Governor Kitzhaber has long supported restoring salmon in the Columbia-Snake. The federal agencies responsible for restoring salmon have thus far only produced plans deemed illegal in federal court over the last decade. The Governor’s call for a stakeholder process is timely, and supported by nearly 1,200 American businesses, 52 members of Congress, the Nez Perce Tribe, tens of thousands of Americans, and multiple national newspapers.