Administration's Columbia Basin salmon plan is another failure

From: American Rivers

Seattle -- As the Bush administration released another scientifically inadequate salmon plan for the Columbia and Snake rivers today, American Rivers called on Northwest leaders to convene the people of the basin to consider sustainable, long-term solutions for salmon and communities.

NOAA Fisheries rewrote the draft biological opinion for the federal system of dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, under court order from federal Judge James Redden who declared the 2004 biological opinion illegal.

Michael Garrity, associate director of Columbia Basin programs for American Rivers, made the following statement:

"This is the third time in seven years that the federal government has failed to come up with a plan that works for Columbia Basin salmon and communities, and it is time for our Northwest leaders to step up and help the region forge a new vision for the future."

"This latest salmon plan offers no solutions. It leaves Columbia Basin communities bogged down in uncertainty and it leaves our region stuck with an undesirable status quo. And it keeps wild salmon on a downward path to extinction."

"Northwest leaders have a responsibility to help the region and the nation put together a plan that contains stronger measures to protect salmon and communities. Northwest governors should refuse to sign off on this deficient Bush administration plan. And the Northwest congressional delegation should help the region get the scientific and economic information needed to finally have an honest dialogue about the costs and benefits of different salmon recovery measures."

"With the continued failure of the administration's plans, it is time for the region to take a serious look at removing the four dams on the lower Snake River. Scientists say it is the single most effective measure we can take. And, with smart investments in transportation, renewable energy and irrigation infrastructure, we can affordably replace the limited benefits those dams provide. This kind of investment makes a lot more sense for taxpayers and local communities than continuing to throw money at a failed approach."

"We can recover the salmon. We can protect farms and local communities. We can restore the river. We know what we need to do. What's holding us back at this point is just lack of political leadership and a lack of vision. That is a poor excuse for allowing these incredible animals go extinct, depriving river and fishing communities of economic opportunity, and breaking treaty obligations. It is an excuse that future generations will not accept."