A new group has entered the fray over the Pacific Northwest's salmon, but don't be fooled by its name.
The first, invitation-only meeting of
Northwesterners for More Fish brought representatives from big
electric companies, banks, timber companies, ports and aluminum
plants to an exclusive club in Spokane last month, reports the
Portland Oregonian. There, the group's organizers, including J.
Vander Stoep, former chief-of-staff to Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash.,
laid the groundwork for a $2.6 million "public education" campaign.
The goal: to convince the public that major changes to the Columbia
River hydroelectric dams aren't needed to protect dwindling salmon
Environmentalists and state and tribal
biologists say changes such as drawing down reservoirs and spilling
water over dams - instead of through turbines - are critical to the
salmon's survival. Mike Kreidler of the Northwest Power Planning
Council was neither invited to the Northwestesterners for More Fish
kickoff nor impressed with its mission: "I am very dubious that the
people of the Northwest are going to be swayed that electric
utilities are ... saviors of salmon."