As our road show descended into the valley north of Mt. Shasta on our way home to Washington, we were reminded of the Klamath Basin and recent news of Vice President Dick Cheney's direct involvement in the Klamath disaster that led to a massive fish kill. In 2002, this river lost an estimated 70,000 salmon in one fell swoop.
Political maneuvering by this Administration around salmon issues is nothing new. While campaigning both in 2000 and 2004, President George W. Bush used the lower Snake River dams as a "wedge issue", dividing and instilling fear in local communities. Speaking at Ice Harbor dam in Eastern Washington in August of 2003, he said the four lower Snake River dams would never come down under his watch.
Bush might be right about this one. But we're not sure what he means by "his watch," when salmon in the Columbia-Snake basin have declined dramatically throughout his presidency. Regardless, for all of his Administration's suppression of science and manipulation of policy, the voices for lower Snake River dam removal are stronger than ever.
Continuing north on Interstate 5, we returned to Oregon and the district of Congressman Peter DeFazio. It was here, in Eugene and Coos Bay, that the Road Show kicked off a month ago. Rep. DeFazio is an interesting character in the evolving story salmon recovery in the Columbia-Snake Basin. While his work to protect salmon and salmon-dependent communities has been helpful to southern Oregon and northern California, he is actively working against any progress in the Columbia-Snake Basin. We can only surmise that he values his ties to river industrialists and the Bonneville Power Administration, a powerful utility, more than the communities of this region.
Call Congressman Peter DeFazio's: (202) 225-6416
Tell him to support real salmon recovery on the Snake and Columbia Rivers.
-Bobby and Jeremy