The Reckoning: Why We All Need to Keep Fighting for Salmon

Almost 20 years. That’s how long we’ve been fighting for Columbia and Snake River salmon, and this spring, Federal Judge James A. Redden will make a decision that will determine the fate of these fish. These aren’t just any fish and this isn’t just another environmental lawsuit

Snake River salmon swim 900 miles inland and climb 7,000 feet in elevation, farther and higher than any other salmon on earth, and these fish provide millions of dollars back into our economy – creating thousands of jobs and supporting hundreds of communities. Judge Redden’s actions on behalf of these fish have protected and created more jobs in the fishing industry than have the last three administrations combined. Now the question is whether his upcoming decision will ensure our salmon’s future; or destroy it.

Yesterday, in the Sunday Edition of the Oregonian, writer Paul VanDevelder wrote of this reckoning calling the upcoming decision "as momentous as any court-ordered environmental remedy in our lifetimes."

From the Oregonian:
Of the many battles waged in the wake of the Endangered Species Act, no other beast, fish or fowl has created a more politically charged -- or more expensive -- fight than West Coast salmon.

Political compromise often succeeds in resolving conflicts in complex human endeavors. But it has little or no ability to recalibrate imbalances in ancient and complex ecosystems. Beyond the shadow of any lingering doubt, salmon have shown us that political compromise is powerless to stop the relentless ticking of the extinction clock…

For 12 years we have had a federal salmon policy that represents the failed past, not the innovative future. By removing four dams on the lower Snake River, we will save billions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars over the next decade, protect and create thousands of jobs, ensure America again as a world leader in innovation and clean energy — and of course save salmon — an iconic species that links communities from Alaska to California and across the West. It's kind of a big deal. And if we have the foresight and gumption, it can be our New Deal.

The country waits to hear Redden's verdict, but we know this is not just up to the court.This is up to the American people. This is up to our generation. We have the opportunity to decide if we save these one-of-a-kind fish for our kids and grandkids, or if we simply sit on the sidelines and allow science and truth to be silenced. I don't want to tell my daughter that we had the opportunity to save these fish and we did nothing. I want to tell her that we fought to save them. That we fought to save the jobs and the communities that depend upon them. And that we fought to ensure transparency in our federal decisions. It's time to fight for salmon, for our rivers, for ourselves and for our future.

TAKE ACTION HERE.

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