Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thank you, Judge Redden

From the desk of Pat Ford, executive director of Save Our wild Salmon:

If salmon could talk, each one would have the same words for U.S. District Judge James Redden, who announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from the Columbia/Snake salmon case he has presided over for 12 years.

The words: Thank You.

Over those 12 years, Judge Redden has done more to restore Columbia and Snake River salmon and steelhead than any other individual. He has struck down three status quo-protecting salmon plans from three different administrations. He has ordered since 2006 the single most beneficial action to restore Columbia Basin salmon: spring and summer spill at the federal dams. He deserves most of the credit for all the actions now being taken or funded by federal agencies to improve spawning, rearing and estuary habitats for Columbia Basin salmon - actions which are not enough to restore the endangered stocks, but which will benefit them.

Thanks to Judge Redden, there are far more salmon-based jobs in the Northwest and on the West coast than we would otherwise have. Hundreds of communities and thousands of families are in his debt for that. By upholding the law, he has done more to protect and create salmon jobs in the six salmon states than three administrations combined.

Thanks to Judge Redden, the Obama Administration must now take a comprehensive new look at removing the lower Snake River dams, at boosting flows through federal dams on the Columbia and Snake, and at other actions needed to address the core problem that three Administrations have refused to address: the federal dams kill too many salmon, and those deaths must be reduced if Columbia and Snake River salmon are to be rescued from extinction and returned to productivity.

He did his job; he applied the law fairly and clearly. We hope and urge the Administration to do the same.

Judge Redden, on behalf of everyone in the salmon states and our country who cares about salmon: Thank You. We are in your debt. We are more grateful than we can say.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Highway to Hell Freezes Over

From the desk of Pat Ford, executive director of Save Our Wild Salmon:

I am happy to report a victory, incomplete but real, for people and rivers, salmon and wildness. Exxon's plan to use the lower Snake River and Idaho and Montana scenic local roads to transport gargantuan mining/milling equipment to the Alberta tar sands seems close to death. A year ago, Bobby Hayden of SOS named the scheme "Highway to Hell", a good literal description. Like Frankenstein in the northern ice at the end of Mary Shelley's tale, it is now frozen. 

There will be sequels, and we know ice melts. We cannot prematurely count out the world's largest corporation, Exxon has shifted its plans geographically rather than giving up (its new proposed highway route threatens parts of Spokane), and the beast this one tentacle was to serve, tar sands production itself, goes on. But last week Exxon announced its equipment will still be barged on the Columbia River to the Tri-Cities, but for now will not come on to Lewiston to then threaten Highway 12, the communities along it, and the salmon of the Snake, Clearwater, and Salmon Rivers.