Idaho senator kills salmon counting center

A rider inserted into an appropriations bill by Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) eliminates all funding for a federal center that kept track of salmon in the Columbia River.

The Fish Passage Center has collected data that suggests dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers hurt salmon. But Craig claims the center employs "false science."

Tribes with treaty rights on the Columbia have called for the removal of the dams and for more water to be spilled over the dams. But electric utilities oppose those options, saying they will increase the cost of power.

Most homes in the Pacific Northwest are powered through the Columbia River hydroelectric system. The electric utility industry donates more money to Craig than any other industry, according to The Washington Post.

The rider became law as part of the 2006 energy and water appropriations bill that was signed by President Bush on November 19.

Get the Story:
Zeroing Out the Messenger (The Washington Post 11/30)

Energy and Water Appropriations:
H.R.2419 | Conference Committee Report 109-275 | Senate Report 109-084 | House Report 109-086 Relevant Links:
Columbia Inter-Tribal Fish Commission - http://www.critfc.org
NOAA Fisheries - http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov

Related Stories:
Idaho senator inserts rider to kill salmon counting (06/24)
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)