Representative Peter DeFazio will kick Dick Cheney while he’s down, but won’t stand up for salmon on the Columbia. For those of you behind on this story, check out the Washington Post article that all the news outlets are referencing (but not linking to for whatever reason).
[Photo: Cheney Fly Fishing]
DeFazio signed a letter stating that “[Cheney’s] political interference resulted in a 10-year water plan for the Klamath River that has been unanimously ruled ‘arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Endangered Species Act,’ by three courts.”
Strong words for a representative that doesn’t hold the ESA in much high regard. In a letter to Eugene Trout Unlimited Chapter 678 conservation officer Karl Mueller, DeFazio stated that he would not support the bi-partisan bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1507), the Salmon Economic Analysis and Planning Act (SEAPA).
This act would authorize independent studies from the National Academy of Sciences and the Government Accountability Office to provide Congress with the information to make sound decisions about the future of endangered salmon while ensuring the efficient investment of taxpayer dollars regarding Pacific Northwest hydropower.
DeFazio’s stated oppositions to SEAPA [Mueller’s rebuttals as well]:
We should certainly be moving toward more alternative energy sources like wind and solar, but the alternative generating capacity required to replace those dams would not come on line for at least a decade.
Does anyone realistically think those dams are coming down in less than a decade, even if Congress passed the study today?
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council estimates that all existing and planned alternative energy projects will be required to meet increased demand, not replace lost hydropower. Removing these four dams would likely create an energy deficit in the Northwest.
To state that removal of these dams would create a regional deficit is factually inaccurate. Disagreement with your statement notwithstanding, SEAPA directs the Comptroller General to study the effects of dam removal on energy production. Your statement is not a valid reason to oppose SEAPA. If the statement cited above is accurate, the Comptroller General of the United States will reach the same conclusion.
We often hear that the lost power of the lower four dams on the Snake River can easily be made with alternative energy.
We do not accept the premise that because something is not easy that it should not be done. This issue, how to balance competing interests while recovering ESA listed species is a challenge this region must meet in order to fulfill our promise and our obligation to future generations of Oregonians and Americans. It is our Chapter’s sincere hope that your statement which appears to infer that if something is not easy it should not be attempted is not a reflection of your legislative philosophy generally…
Mueller’s full refutation of DeFazio’s argument goes on for 2,000 words, so I wont’ bog you down with it here. But we will publish the full letter to DeFazio on the TU 678 blog and hopefully in letters to the Register-Guard.
In the meantime, I want to thank Representative DeFazio for having the courage to rail against Cheney regarding the Klamath salmon kill-off — an unpopular leader in the opposing political party.
Update: Check out the Loaded Orygun’s analysis of Gordon Smith’s role in the Klamath Salmon Kill off.