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March 8, 2006

Fishing vs Logging vs Farming

-- by Dave Johnson

Some say that Bush favors large corporate interests. But what happens when industries have conflicting needs?

From this news item today, Salmon fishing ban advised,

Federal fish managers told the Pacific Fishery Management Council on Tuesday that salmon fishing from California to Oregon must not be allowed this season.

... Klamath River chinook populations have fallen well below required limits for the last several years, said NMFS spokesman Peter Dygert -- the main factor driving the closing recommendation.

... Fishermen, whose livelihoods are at risk, said the problem in the Klamath isn't fishing harvests. It's a sick river.

Jim Anderson, spokesman for the California Salmon Council, said lower river levels and warmer river temperatures cause parasites that kill the fish.

May, 2003, Conservation Groups Challenge Old Growth Logging in Federal Court, Klamath Plan Would Damage Wild and Scenic Salmon River,
The Wild and Scenic Salmon River, one of the crown jewels of California, supports some of the last remaining wild summer steelhead, spring Chinook, and coho salmon runs in the state, provides world-class whitewater recreational opportunities, and is a critical source of much-needed cold, clear water to the Klamath River. The Knob timber sale would destroy almost 600 acres of ancient forest that provides critical habitat for a diverse array of plant and animal species, including the northern spotted owl, northern goshawk, fishers, martens, wild orchids, and rare salamanders.

... "The Knob timber sale, along with several other recent and proposed timber sales in the watershed, will remove much of the remaining low elevation old-growth in the area, including the last remaining critical spotted owl habitat outside of Reserves. The proposed logging plans threaten to significantly impact all of the species that depend on these ancient forests for their survival."

From July, 2003, Oregon Water Saga Illuminates Rove's Methods With Agencies,
In a darkened conference room, White House political strategist Karl Rove was making an unusual address to 50 top managers at the U.S. Interior Department. Flashing color slides, he spoke of poll results, critical constituencies -- and water levels in the Klamath River basin.

At the time of the meeting, in January 2002, Mr. Rove had just returned from accompanying President Bush on a trip to Oregon, where they visited with a Republican senator facing re-election. Republican leaders there wanted to support their agricultural base by diverting water from the river basin to nearby farms, and Mr. Rove signaled that the administration did, too.

Three months later, Interior Secretary Gale Norton stood with Sen. Gordon Smith in Klamath Falls and opened the irrigation-system head gates that increased the water supply to 220,000 acres of farmland -- a policy shift that continues to stir bitter criticism from environmentalists and Indian tribes.

... His remarks weren't entirely welcome -- especially by officials grappling with the competing arguments made by environmentalists, who wanted river levels high to protect endangered salmon, and Indian tribes, who depend on the salmon for their livelihoods.

... Environmentalists blame the change in water levels for the subsequent death of more than 30,000 salmon, calling it the largest fish kill in the history of the West.

Posted by Dave Johnson at March 8, 2006 11:21 AM

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Comments

The industry with the better lobbyists wins. Take steel tariffs. The steel industry got them, and then the steel-depending industries woke up and got them turned around, because they were bigger but they were behind because they were initially late to the party.

Posted by: ArC at March 10, 2006 2:15 AM

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