In a letter sent this week, 52 members of the U.S. House of Representatives called on President Obama to convene a “solutions table” regarding efforts to protect and restore endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake River basins of the Pacific Northwest.
The letter was signed by 49 Democrats and three Republicans. The full text and signatories can be found at http://www.wildsalmon.org/images/stories/sos/PDFs/congress/house_salmon_solutions_letter_final.pdf
Reps. Jim McDermott, D-WA, Tom Petri, R-WI, and Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, said they spearheaded the letter to bring together all parties with a stake in salmon restoration to create a broad-based, collaborative process that explores and identifies real salmon recovery solutions.
“Discussion and open debate are critical to creating a successful salmon restoration plan," said McDermott. "The previous four plans did not consider all stakeholder views, and were unsurprisingly struck down in federal court. Now is the time to act. By convening a stakeholder’s solutions table that gives all affected parties a voice, we can ensure a thoughtful and successful salmon plan that not only saves taxpayer dollars, but can truly protect this cherished resource.”
“For years I have strongly supported the notion that all scientifically credible options to restore historic Columbia-Snake River salmon runs should be thoroughly evaluated," said Blumenauer. "Had we done this before, we might have avoided years of legal uncertainty and taxpayer expense. The Administration has a significant opportunity to convene the region’s sovereigns and stakeholders and begin having a comprehensive discussion. It may be the key that moves us beyond the courtroom and towards solutions that finally satisfy endangered species requirements, support sovereign treaty rights, create sustainable jobs for local economies, and restore wild fish runs in the Columbia-Snake Basin.”