An April 25 Peninsula Daily News article on local elected officials’ responses to the critical state of endangered salmon and orcas barely touches on a central point.
Recent letters from the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, the city councils of Port Angeles and Port Townsend, and Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias were, by no accident, addressed to members of Congress, including Rep. Derek Kilmer and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.
The letters called on our D.C. delegation to help craft a legislative alternative to 20 years of gridlock that isn’t working for salmon and orcas, for farmers or fishermen, for tribes or utilities.
The federal agencies that manage the dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers have failed repeatedly to produce a salmon recovery plan that actually recovers salmon or passes legal muster in the federal courts.
And, as Commissioner Ozias observed to Rep. Kilmer and Senators Murray and Cantwell, “To date, various stakeholders have been totally unable to reach a consensus on key issues including the fate of the dams on the Lower Snake River.”
It’s time for Congress to step up and get us off this hamster wheel.
Idaho Representative Mike Simpson has offered a concept for a comprehensive solution.
His effort to craft a win-win outcome, while laudable, is not a finished product.
But turning the problem over to the agencies and stakeholders who have failed to solve the problem for two decades isn’t what’s needed.
What’s needed is congressional leadership and legislation.