When Washington and Oregon recently announced plans to regulate water temperatures behind Federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, Eastern Washington Representatives Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers quickly reacted as they always do to perceived threats to Eastside agricultural interests.
They loudly denounced any change in the status quo.
Meanwhile, our Representative, Derek Kilmer, whose district has been grievously harmed by losses of the endangered salmon and steelhead that these regulations are intended to protect was, frustratingly, silent.
It’s not the only issue affecting salmon (and salmon-dependent orcas) on which Rep. Kilmer has been puzzlingly quiet.
The Trump Administration recently proposed a deeply flawed salmon plan that rebuffed the most effective available salmon restoration measure – breaching four low-value dams on the Lower Snake River.
Reps. Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers applauded enthusiastically. Rep. Kilmer was mute.
During Derek Kilmer’s lifetime, a once-thriving North Olympic Peninsula fishing industry has been decimated by steep declines in salmon numbers.
The shore-based businesses that once supported literally thousands of commercial, tribal, charter and recreational fishermen have also shriveled.
The tribal nations — the People of the Salmon and co-managers of the resource — have likewise suffered in livelihoods and culture.
The North Olympic Peninsula has a big stake in these issues.
We need Rep. Kilmer to advocate for our communities.
Unlike Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Newhouse, I have no doubt he would seek solutions that responsibly address all interests.
But our interests must be at the table.
Rep. Kilmer needs to make sure they are.