May 20, 2010

Obama Sides With Bush vs. Northwest Salmon, Recreation Industry.

When President Obama took office, hopes ran high amongst conservation groups.

But today a good part of those hopes were crushed, with the announcement that the Obama Administration will side with a Bush Administration-approved federal plan for endangered wild salmon on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest.

The first attempt for creating a plan of their own for these iconic creatures, the Obama administration choose instead to adopt the failed analysis and strategies previously put into place under Bush’s reign—including ignoring the impacts of climate change on rivers and salmon populations in the Northwest. Salmon advocates are dismayed.

The administration has chosen to wear blinders regarding the impacts of climate change on salmon

…said John Kostyack, the executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Conservation and Global Warming program. “The science tells us that our rivers and lakes are warming. This administration had an opportunity to confront this problem and to protect salmon from the impacts from climate change. Instead it elected to ignore the impacts and defend a discredited strategy written by the previous administration.”

The decision comes at a painfully ironic time: on the eve of Endangered Species Day.

“We believed the President when he said he would follow science and strengthen the ESA, but the administration has seemingly allowed regional political pressure to trump science and law,” said Brock Evans, President of the Endangered Species Coalition.

Tomorrow is Endangered Species Day. We should be celebrating and working to protect America’s endangered species, but instead, for Columbia Basin salmon, we’re mourning. Even so, make no mistake — we’re not done fighting to save species like wild salmon. They are simply irreplaceable.”

What’s the next step for conservation groups? They will assess the proposed briefing schedule set forth by the federal agencies. Until then, voice your frustration toward an administration that touts support for endangered species, but doesn’t back it up…

…by taking action here.

Keep up to date on the issue at www.wildsalmon.org.

PHOTOS courtesy: Jerome Charaoui and University of Washington, Thomas Quinn.

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