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Idaho senator inserts rider to kill salmon counting
Friday, June 24, 2005

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) has inserted a rider into an energy appropriations bill that eliminates the Fish Passage Center, a federal agency that keeps track of salmon that run though dams in the Columbia River.

The agency has collected data that shows the dams hurt salmon. But this approach is "controversial and one-sided" Craig's spokesperson told The Washington Post.

Four Pacific Northwest tribe with treaty rights on the river want the dams removed. "We all have to rely on some mutually agreeable data in order to figure out what is happening to the fish and, to date, that has come from the Fish Passage Center," Charles Hudson, a spokesman for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, told The Post.

A federal judge handling the case has ordered the Bush administration to reconsider its salmon plan. The White House outright refused to consider removal of the dams.

U.S. District Judge James Redden also ordered the federal government to spill more water from the dams in order to help salmon. On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused the Bush administration's request for a stay.

The full text of the rider can be found in Senate Report 109-084. It reads:
The Committee is concerned about the increasing cost of salmon recovery efforts in the Columbia River Basin, and about the potential adverse impact of those increased costs on customers of the Bonneville Power Administration. The Committee also is concerned about the quality and efficiency of some of the fish data collection efforts and analyses being performed. As a result, during fiscal year 2006, the Bonneville Power Administration may make no new obligations from the Bonneville Power Administration Fund in support of the Fish Passage Center. The Committee understands that there are universities in the Pacific Northwest that already collect fish data for the region and are well-positioned to take on the responsibilities now being performed by the Fish Passage Center, and that the universities can carry out those responsibilities at a savings to the region's ratepayers that fund these programs.

Get the Story:
Senator Aims to Kill Agency That Tracks Salmon (The Washington Post 6/24)
Username: indianz@indianz.com, Password: indianz
Judge pulls the plug on Bush and helps threatened salmon back to sea (The Independent 6/23)
Court upholds water spill for salmon (The Seattle Post Intelligencer 6/22)
Court won't stop spill over four Snake and Columbia river dams (The Seattle Times 6/22)

Relevant Links:
Columbia Inter-Tribal Fish Commission - http://www.critfc.org
NOAA Fisheries - http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov

Related Stories:
Judge orders Bush to reconsider salmon plan (05/27)
Columbia River tribes forced to shut down fishery (05/11)
Mark Trahant: Few salmon left for tribal ceremonies (04/25)
Tribe seeks higher standard on Columbia River (04/21)
Yakama Nation agrees to dam conservation plans (03/31)
Report backs tribe in Columbia River pollution claim (03/08)
Bush administration to reduce protections for salmon (12/01)
Warm Springs Tribes criticize shift on dam breaching (09/10)
Federal agencies change minds on removal of dams (09/01)
Nez Perce Tribe calls for protection of salmon (08/13)
Judge sides with tribes on proposed water spill (07/29)

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