Northwest Reps. write ‘death warrant’ for Idaho’s salmon and steelhead

Five Northwest political leaders yesterday introduced legislation seeking to block a federal court order that requires increased protections for Idaho’s endangered salmon.

“These five members of Congress have written a death warrant for endangered salmon,” said IRU Executive Director Kevin Lewis. “This bill must be stopped dead in its tracks.”

The bill was introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and Greg Walden, R-Ore. and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. The legislation is aimed at an April decision by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon that requires federal, state and tribal fisheries experts to work together to improve conditions in the Columbia and Snake rivers for young salmon migrating to the ocean. The court also required new environmental analyses due in 2018.

“Idaho’s iconic salmon have been teetering on the brink of extinction for more than 25 years with little progress toward recovery," Lewis said. "During that time federal courts have repeatedly instructed federal agencies to follow the law and create a sound plan to prevent extinction of these fish. Inviting Congress to ignore a massive body of scientific work that identifies the real causes of salmon decline is unconscionable. This bill should be dead on arrival.