Salmon under Attack

The salmon that swim in the Columbia and Snake rivers are under attack.  And I’m not talking about sea lions and other natural predators  or hazardous weather conditions.

Those are dangerous enough but the salmon have – just barely – managed to survive Mother Nature’s assaults for generations.

This attack is far more sinister. It is coming from Congress.

The House of Representatives passed a bill this week that – according to environmentalists –  could lead to the salmon’s extinction. If it passes the Senate and becomes law,  federal court decisions that protect endangered salmon and steelhead.would be overturned.

Why would legislators want to do such a horrible thing?

The short answer is money.

The new law would change existing limits on water spilled over Snake River dams, benefitting power producers in the area but causing havic among the  already endangered salmon.

And I don’t have to tell you that while power companies contribute generously to lawmakers’ election campaigns, the poor fish can’t.

This awful piece of legislation is the work of Republicans. of course. I’m sure you know how Republicans feel about protecting the environment at the expense of Big Business. But eight Democrats were complicit in this shameful vote.

Fortunately for the salmon, the legislation threatens humans as well. Commercial fishermen in the area are up in arms. And they have a voice.

Washington State legislators also oppose the legislation. They sent a letter to Congress expressing alarm over the attack on their salmon.

The attack on the region’s salmon also has international implications. The Columbia River flows through Canada as well as the US.  And – once one of the richest salmon fisheries on earth – the river has fed Native American and Canadian tribes for generations.

So this battle might not be lost just yet. Keep your fingers crossed for the salmon.

More on the toxic legislation

More on endangered salmon

The Washington state letter

Native People’s stake