How many flights until justice is served?

From 30,000 feet above the Pacific Northwest, it's easy to let your mind wander over the landscape below. It's a place where we've been working for 20 years for a seemingly evasive justice.

Yesterday I traveled to Seattle to watch our attorneys argue in federal court, challenging the federal government's flawed sediment management plan for the lower Snake River.

Like most federal litigation on salmon, substance took a back seat to process as federal and industry  attorneys fought to get the case dismissed on issues of standing, mootness and whether the case is "justiciable."

While frustrating, it's not difficult to understand their focus on process as opposed to the actual merits of the case.  This is because they simply can't win on the merits. The kinds of arguments they advance in a broken record of rhetoric day-in and day-out must stop at the courtroom doors, and they're left with nothing but technicalities to quibble over.

On the late night flight back to Boise, the darkness of the Cascades gave way to the scattered lights of the Yakima Valley, then the more populated Tri Cities area where the dark confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers was apparent.

Looking down into the winter darkness left me wondering: “How many more flights until justice is actually served?”

In the meantime, the lower Snake River, which author Keith Petersen coined the “channel of death,” continues to rob Idahoans of their iconic heritage while the federal government and special interests continue evading the truth.