In a recent op-ed published in the Spokesman-Review, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers warns us of a rogue activist judge out to impose his will on the rest of us.
Once again, our way of life in the Northwest is being threatened. Today the threat isn’t from a politician or Wall Street financier. It’s from a judge in Portland.
With a stroke of a pen, U.S. District Judge James Redden last week undermined years of teamwork and collaboration and put removing the lower Snake River dams back on the table.
Redden threatened to reject a federal salmon restoration plan, required by the Endangered Species Act, because he doesn’t think it does enough to protect migrating salmon. The biological opinion, or BiOp, is an agreement between Idaho, Montana and Washington, most Columbia River tribes and the federal government to improve salmon runs without destroying the dams, their electricity and valuable irrigation reservoirs.
The case is 3:01-cv-640 within the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon. There are about 45 parties involved which include the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, various Native American tribes, the federal government, and environmental groups. There are over 1700 filings in the case which started in 2001. What caught our congresswoman's attention? A letter from Judge James Redden to all parties.
I still have serious reservations about whether the "trending toward recovery" standard complies with the Endangered Species Act, it s implementing regulations, and the case law. Even if "trending toward recovery" is a permissible interpretation of the jeopardy regulation, the conclusion that all 13 species are, in fact, on a "trend toward recovery" is arbitrary and capricious because:
And he lists six very clear reasons and then continues.
I urge you to consider implementing some, or all, of the following measures as part of the adaptive management process:
And he gives six suggestions, one of which is:
* developing a contingency plan to study specific, alternative hydro actions, such as flow augmentation and/or reservoir drawdowns, as well as what it will take to breach the lower Snake River dams if all other measures fail (i. e., independent scientific evaluation, permitting, funding, and congressional approval);
Your way of life is being threatened, folks. Get down there and put your body between the dams and the machines of destruction that the judge dares to dispatch to breach them.
Before it's too late.