Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.

from the desk of Nicole Cordan, Policy & Legal Director of Save Our Wild Salmon:

We hear a lot from the White House and Congress about protecting jobs and creating jobs. About innovation. About “winning the future.” But, when it comes to salmon, our decision-makers are both failing to create new jobs and also to protect the few we already have. We are continuing the failures of the past, not winning the future.

On Sunday, February 13, the Oregonian newspaper printed an Op-Ed by Paul VanDevelder identifying actions taken by the Obama administration to suppress science on salmon issues in the Columbia-Snake River Basin. That Columbia-Snake salmon plan now includes actions that will threaten salmon populations and eliminate jobs, harming communities from California to Alaska.  It’s a community-destroying plan, not a job-creating one. 

Late last week, the House of Representatives added insult to injury and passed a spending bill – the Continuing Resolution, HR 1 – that includes ALL the anti-salmon amendments put before the chamber in this discussion.  Every single one.  This House bill removes protections for salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Basin.  Unlike the plan for Columbia and Snake Rivers, these protections have undergone stringent scientific review, passed legal muster, and have come out the other end intact.  And yet, some in Congress, in their infinite wisdom, because they believe they know better than experts on the issue, have decided to remove these protections.

In addition, HR 1 as it stands will also eliminate funding for removing the four dams on the Klamath River and for a sedimentation study – both are items agreed to by all the key parties in the Klamath discussions.  And finally, the House budget bill will drastically cut clean water act programs – programs that keep our waters clean for people and for salmon.  If these provisions get passed, thousands of fishermen will be put out of work.  When a similar action took place under the Obama administration, almost 23,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in economic benefits were lost.  LOST.  That doesn’t sound like a job protection plan to me either. 

Salmon mean business.  Suppressing salmon science, undermining the Endangered Species Act, and diminishing salmon protections means eliminating real jobs and destroying real communities.

As Pat Ford, executive director of the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition said recently:

“Salmon provide business and jobs in the West. Coastal economies and ways of life are built upon these iconic fish. As introduced, this CR would eliminate thousands of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars that would otherwise benefit our coastal and river communities. . If this happens, Congress will undermine the Endangered Species Act, jeopardize the future of salmon and risk thousands of jobs in Western states – a region with some of the highest unemployment rates in our nation.”

But you can help.  Please send a message here to your Senators and make an extra call.  Ask them to oppose these salmon and salmon-job killing provisions. 

Take action here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Congress is voting now - take two quick actions.

Wild salmon and salmon-dependent communities are currently facing several major challenges – and now they face one more. An important funding bill – the Continuing Resolution, or HR 1 – was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. HR 1 includes specific language that, if enacted, would eliminate all funding for science-based measures designed to protect salmon populations in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Basin and crucial studies needed for Klamath River restoration.


1) Call your representative right now using the Capitol Switchboard. Call (202) 224-3121. If you don't know your representative's name - find it here with your zip code. When you’re connected to your congressperson’s office, just leave the following message with the receptionist or on voicemail:

“I'm calling to ask the Representative to vote ‘no’ on H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011, and to oppose all anti-environmental amendments, because it will harm salmon, jobs, and our environment.”

2) Send a longer message HERE urging leadership from your members of Congress on this crucial issue.

Jobs, ways of life, and entire communities are built upon salmon in this region and throughout the West.  If HR 1 becomes law, it will eliminate thousands of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars in economic benefit.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin and Klamath Basin, along with the Columbia River Basin, were once the top-producing salmon watersheds on the West coast. Yet they are now all experiencing steep declines in salmon populations, and will continue to do so unless the federal government takes action.  It’s time to stand together to protect these vital watersheds from backroom deals and closed-door deliberating.

Congress has a key role to play in helping to chart a course for salmon recovery that is guided by science and economics.   And that course starts with rejecting HR 1.

Again, please send a message to Congress here.

Thank you for your continued efforts and support,


Bobby Hayden
Save Our Wild Salmon

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Save Our Lands and Our Salmon: Call Congress Today Regarding H.R. 1

photo © Neil Ever Osborne

Big stuff happening in the House of Representatives this week as they introduced a Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1), to fund the federal government for the last seven months of the fiscal year while cutting spending by over $100 billion from the President’s fiscal year 2011 request.
This CR legislation represents the largest single discretionary spending reduction in the history of Congress and it is the most harmful to our environment in American history.

From Wilderness Society:
The proposed cuts are some of the worst we’ve ever seen. They would eliminate funds entirely for a host of programs that Americans count as important.
GONE: The Antiquities Act, used by every president since Theodore Roosevelt to protect special places

GONE: Funds for research into global warming

GONE: EPA regulation of greenhouse gases

GONE: New policy to protect western wilderness areas

GONE: The Land and Water Conservation Fund

GONE: Forest planning that keeps off road vehicles under control
You can follow live updates via Wilderness Society here.

We're asking you to take action and call your member of Congress today to protect salmon.
Congress is voting right now – Wednesday night and Thursday – on a budget that harms salmon, jobs, and clean water, and we need your help to stop it in its tracks. Please call the Capitol Switchboard today at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your member of Congress; urge him/her to vote NO on H.R. 1 because it will reverse decades of protections for our land, water, air, and wildlife. Several of H.R.1’s provisions, along with dozens of proposed harmful amendments, will hurt salmon, cost jobs, and damage communities. Tell Congress that throwing away 40 years of progress on America’s environment is no way to “win the future.”

Call (202) 224-3121 now to make your voice heard. When you’re connected to your congressperson’s office, just leave the following message with the receptionist or on voicemail:

“I'm calling to ask the Representative to vote ‘no’ on H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011, and to oppose all anti-environmental amendments, because it will harm salmon, jobs and our environment.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Reckoning: Why We All Need to Keep Fighting for Salmon

photo © Neil Ever Osborne

By Nicole Cordan, Policy & Legal Director for Save Our Wild Salmon

Almost 20 years. That’s how long we’ve been fighting for Columbia and Snake River salmon, and this spring, Federal Judge James A. Redden will make a decision that will determine the fate of these fish. These aren’t just any fish and this isn’t just another environmental lawsuit.

Snake River salmon swim 900 miles inland and climb 7,000 feet in elevation, farther and higher than any other salmon on earth, and these fish provide millions of dollars back into our economy – creating thousands of jobs and supporting hundreds of communities. Judge Redden’s actions on behalf of these fish have protected and created more jobs in the fishing industry than have the last three administrations combined. Now the question is whether his upcoming decision will ensure our salmon’s future; or destroy it.

Yesterday, in the Sunday Edition of the Oregonian, writer Paul VanDevelder wrote of this reckoning calling the upcoming decision "as momentous as any court-ordered environmental remedy in our lifetimes."

From the Oregonian:
Of the many battles waged in the wake of the Endangered Species Act, no other beast, fish or fowl has created a more politically charged -- or more expensive -- fight than West Coast salmon.

Political compromise often succeeds in resolving conflicts in complex human endeavors. But it has little or no ability to recalibrate imbalances in ancient and complex ecosystems. Beyond the shadow of any lingering doubt, salmon have shown us that political compromise is powerless to stop the relentless ticking of the extinction clock…

For 12 years we have had a federal salmon policy that represents the failed past, not the innovative future. By removing four dams on the lower Snake River, we will save billions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars over the next decade, protect and create thousands of jobs, ensure America again as a world leader in innovation and clean energy — and of course save salmon — an iconic species that links communities from Alaska to California and across the West. It's kind of a big deal. And if we have the foresight and gumption, it can be our New Deal.

Save Wild Salmon from EP Films on Vimeo.

The country waits to hear Redden's verdict, but we know this is not just up to the court. This is up to the American people. This is up to our generation. We have the opportunity to decide if we save these one-of-a-kind fish for our kids and grandkids, or if we simply sit on the sidelines and allow science and truth to be silenced. I don't want to tell my daughter that we had the opportunity to save these fish and we did nothing. I want to tell her that we fought to save them. That we fought to save the jobs and the communities that depend upon them. And that we fought to ensure transparency in our federal decisions. It's time to fight for salmon, for our rivers, for ourselves and for our future.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Oregonian Op-Ed: Salmon country needs science and innovation, too

By Liz Hamilton and Zeke Grader

When President Barack Obama made a joke about salmon regulation in his State of the Union address, he generated laughter and applause from Congress and sent an unusual buzz across the nation. The reaction may have surprised some, but not those of us who are part of the West Coast's salmon economy. This extraordinary fish touches many people in many ways -- as a delicious food, a satisfying livelihood, a wonder of nature.

Even among animals that migrate, salmon are astonishing. They travel between worlds -- as the president wryly noted -- in both fresh and saltwater. They swim thousands of miles, face countless perils and somehow manage to find their way home to the very gravel beds where they were hatched so they may spawn and die themselves.

Read more over at the Oregonian.