James Souby's letter in the Dec. 21 edition concerning the Western Governors' Association "Enlibra" program is contradictory. On the one hand, Souby lauds the Oregon Salmon Plan as a "good example" of "environmental management strategies that incorporate balance and stewardship" while on the other he asserts "skepticism" that Enlibra-style "solutions' would work "where 90 percent of what we are fighting over is already lost."
Unfortunately, that is exactly the situation we face with so many of the "environmental issues' facing the West. Whether we talk salmon, old growth, grizzlies, wetlands or clean water, we see that 90 percent has, in fact, been turned into cash profits.
It is disturbing that the executive director of the Western Governors' Association, the entity pushing hard for Kitzhaber's approach to salmon and clean water, is not aware of the degraded state of these Western resources. Nevertheless, I believe most grassroots activists would welcome state initiatives that address core issues. So far, however, all Oregon's efforts are producing is display-window projects, farm plans which are rarely implemented and lots of feel-good process.
Enviros like to feel good but only real reform can do the trick. The Western governors have been in charge of the Clean Water Act for 20 years. Why are so many Western rivers impaired? The states have been "restoring" salmon for about as long. Why are stocks still going extinct? What we need from the Western Governors' Association (and its executive director) is less self-promotion and more results.
Felice Pace is executive director of the Klamath Forest Alliance and a 24-year resident of the Scott River Valley in far Northern California (aka "Greater Oregon." )
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