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.

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