Month after month of reading articles of the current administration's political manipulation of science, or their willingness to blatantly ignore it, leaves me disappointed by a level of thoughtless arrogance that's disgusting.
This article reveals yet another example that our President and his policies are out of touch with what the people want and what it truly means to be a conservative.
To paraphrase one comic's observation, "The Democrats blow, and the Republicans suck...", what's a voter to do?
New rules shift salmon policy
Critics say scientists were ignored; species protection uncertain.
Sacramento Bee - 5/2/04
By Les Blumenthal, staff writer
WASHINGTON - In tentatively concluding there is little difference between wild and hatchery salmon, the Bush administration rejected the findings of independent scientists and, instead, opted for a fundamental shift in long-established policy that could affect federal protections for up to 25 West Coast runs.
The administration's move, outlined in a one-page confidential memo reviewed by the White House Council on Environmental Policy, represents a major victory for agricultural interests and developers who had fought the listings of salmon and steelhead runs under the Endangered Species Act. It was a major setback for environmentalists, who charge the White House manipulated an earlier court decision for political purposes.
The proposed policy, still in draft form, comes at a time of record or near-record runs on rivers and streams. Most returning fish, in some cases 90 percent or more, are hatchery-raised and not wild. Despite more than $700 million spent annually on the most extensive effort ever to recover an endangered species, improved ocean conditions rather than man-made fixes are generally credited for the healthy runs.
Hatcheries have played a key role in supplementing wild runs since the 1930s, when the federal government embarked on an ambitious program to build massive hydroelectric dams. The dams flooded spawning habitat and interfered with migrating fish.
Until now, only wild salmon and steelhead have been considered when deciding on federal protection.
"Ultimately, this is an attempt to bypass the Endangered Species Act and delist as many stocks as they can," said biologist Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Myers was one of six scientists appointed to an independent advisory panel by federal officials to look at whether wild and hatchery-bred salmon are genetically similar. Myers and other members of the panel said officials of the National Marine Fisheries Service were not pleased when the panel concluded there were significant differences.
"Any science that contradicted them was not welcome," Myers said in a telephone interview. The scientists, he said, basically found that "you can't replace wild salmon with hatchery salmon. It's like saying Chihuahuas and wolves are the same."
Other members of the scientific panel were also critical of the administration.
"The current political and legal wrangling is a sideshow to the real issues," Robert Paine, a biologist at the University of Washington, said in an earlier statement. "The science is clear and unambiguous - as they are currently operated, hatcheries and hatchery fish cannot protect wild stocks."
The advisory panel said the tens of millions of hatchery fish released into Western rivers each year are well-fed and larger than wild ones. But Myers said the hatchery fish are also genetically inferior, and staking the survival of all salmon on those bred in captivity would be a mistake.
Administration officials sought to downplay the impact of the new policy.
"People are jumping to conclusions about what this says," said Jim Lecky, intergovernmental program adviser to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries programs.
Of the 26 federally protected salmon and steelhead runs on the West Coast, all but one - Southern California steelhead - will eventually be reviewed in light of the new policy, Lecky said. Fifteen of the runs have been challenged by various groups; of those, NOAA-Fisheries is under court pressure to decide quickly.
"This doesn't necessarily mean they will be delisted or reclassified," Lecky said. "We don't know how many will actually be affected."
The memo outlining the proposed new policy, a copy of which was obtained by the News Tribune, concluded hatchery fish that are genetically "no more than moderately divergent" from wild ones will be considered when deciding whether a run should receive federal protection. The phrase "moderately divergent" was not defined.
But the memo also said federal officials will recognize the "necessity" of conserving wild salmon populations and the ecosystems salmon depend on.
Lecky conceded the policy, if finally adopted, would be controversial. Asked about White House involvement, Lecky said top environmental officials in the White House routinely review such policy changes.
Last Thursday night I went to hear David James Duncan lecture. This was the day the administration made the announcement that rocked our world. Yvon Chouinard was in town and spoke before Duncan. Both these men have worked in their own way so hard for what we love and believe in. Yet both men seemed so tired and frustrated. Yvon started out by saying that he was thankful he was speaking to the choir because he just wanted to hit someone really bad. Duncan truly seemed shaken and was out of his usual astounding self. He seemed very tired and because of the days actions by the administration changed his entire lecture at the last moment. He did not want to have to go there and mentioned he would at this time would just like to be back in Montana with his family. His lecture was broken and interrupted by many sighs and pauses. He talked about how easy it is to hate the man in charge and how easy it is to forget that this is a very lonely man who is a figure head for those far smarter than himself. Duncan stressed that the hate will do no good. He is probably right and I will try not to hate the man anymore. He talked of the mentality of those who run this administration. He talked of the VP wanting to go bird hunting and being invited to a very republican private reserve for the 1 % who control this country now. 500 pheasant brought up in cages were released for the VP and his cronies on the day of the hunt. The VP latter that night was the toast of dinner at the hunting club. The VP boaster about killing 50 birds himself and what fun he had in doing so. Duncan mentioned that for us we would have turned bored at shooting 3 birds that knew nothing of survival but the life in a cage. He said that we would have been outraged with our lust if we would have shot 15 of these birds. But this man shot 50 before calling it a day and retired to the bar for a drink. One must wonder if our patriotic VP even pulled one feather or ever bothered to retrieve a bird down. This Duncan said is what the enemy we are facing is. This is a world so far removed from men and women like ourselves it is so hard to comprehend.
For me it is as if the,"Rights of Man" the essay that changed the way our countries founders thought has been taken away from us. We have come full circle to what this country was originally going to be founded on and that was originally only the wealthy, the privileged will make the decisions for what is best for our country. The "Rights of Man" changed that way of thinking. But now it seems like we are going to be the country our founders originally intended.
I don't know about the rest of you but I'm like Duncan and I am so frikken tired of all this BS and I just want to go hide somewhere and say I told you so. But I can't do it, I hope you can't run and hide, we got to fight what is happened to our country and those who have taken over control of it. It is the environment, it is everything that is changing and not for the better.
The administration has been forced to make this change by Oregon Federal Distric Court Judge Hogan's ruling in a lawsuit that was filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation (a group representing timber companies, land developers, home construction companies, agriculture, and road construction companies. Judge Hogan ruled in 2001 that the Endangered Species Act does not allow for the separation of hatchery and wild fish of the same species in the same river system (notice river system, not individual river) because they are genetically the same fish. Therefore, he ruled that NOAA Fisheries had to redo the federal salmon recovery plan to reflect that a salmon is a salmon whether hatchery or wild.
If you go to the thread "HATCHERY SALMON ARE NOW WILD" in the "Worldwide Flyfishing" forum here in the FFF forums, you will find a lot of information on Hogan's ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, and Judge Redden's ruling requiring NOAA fisheries to redo the salmon recovery plan and to remove wild fish from threatened or endangered status when there is a hatchery run in the same river system.
This change had nothing to do with the administration, it has everything to do with the ruling of Judge Hogan and his decision that wild and hatchery fish are the same thing.
We need to work withing the parameters of Judge Hogan's decision and stop the hand-wringing, finger-pointing (which if it is done can only be pointed at Judge Hogan and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals), and angry complaining about it. Just like the decison by Judge Bolt made a change in how Washington had to manage salmon and steelhead stocks and how it gave the treaty tribes in Washington state equal status to the state with regard to catching fish and managing them, this decision of Hogan's is not going to go away. And just like Bolt's decision, Hogan's decision has been upheld by a Federal Appeals Court and it is not going to go away.
The only way Hogan's ruling can be changed is through Congress changing the Endangered Species Act to allow molecular DNA to be the determiner of whether a species is endangered or threatened. That is not going to happen for just like white bengal tigers who have been bred in captivity for many generations are still white bengal tigers, coho salmon who have been bred in hatcheries for many generations are still coho salmon.
The bottom line is that a federal judge has changed how the Endangered Species Act can be applied, and neither the adminstration, the states effected (all the states with salmon hatcheries or power generation facilities on major river tributaries within the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals jusrisdiction) can change this fact. All the protests will not change it either, not will having a different administration in office change it. It is a done deal, the judge and the 9th circuit court have decided. Now we need decide to either pursue futile fighting and wrangling over the decision, or work within the parameters of the decision to continue trying to rebuild wild fish runs through things like habitat protection and wild fish release fishing regulations in each of the states with salmon hatcheries.
Blaming the adminstration in office at the time of a decision of a federal judge, which ordered the adminstrations federal oversight agency (in this cast NOAA Fisheries) is like blaming the governor, WDFW, and the adminstration in office at the time of the Bolt decision. It is not the fault of the adminstration anymore than Bolt was the fault of the governor et al. However, NOAA Fisheries must comply with Judge Hogan's decision, just like WDFW and Washington State had to comply with Judge Bolt's decision. The administration has no choice, just like WDFW and Washinton State had to comply with Judge Bolt's decision.
I am not happy about Judge Hogan's decision, nor the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed Judge Hogan's ruling in the least. However, all the anger, complaining, finger-pointing (which can only be directed at Judge Hogan's decision in all honesty), angst, and vote-the-curent adminstration out of office is not going to change the simple fact that a federal judge (Judge Hogan) ruled 1) hatchery and wild salmon are the same species and same fish; 2) hatchery fish must be counted when deciding if a run of salmon is threatened or endangered; 3) remove from threatened or endangered status salmon runs by river system that have that status based upon wild fish only; and 4) NOAA Fisheries has to redo the federal Salmon Recovery Plan to do what #1 through #3 require.
We are angry at what Hogan's ruling is doing, rightfully so. Unfortunately, because federal judges are appointed for life and can only be removed by way of an impeachment by the House of Representative and trial in the Senate after the impeachment in the House precluding us from taking action against the judge, it is very easy for all of us and other conservation minded people and groups to displace our anger and frustration from the court's ruling to the administration in office at the time of the ruling.
Once again I must reiterate, the administration through NOAA Fisheries is simply doing what a federal judge has ordered it to do. We must see how we can work within the court's ruling to preserve wild salmon just like we have had to learn how to work within Judge Bolt's decision for salmon and steelhead management in Washington state.
I'm sorry my friend but the administration has gone against what their own scientist have said. They could have and still could challenge this decision in a higher court, they will not. To deny that Hogans ruling is exactly what this administration wanted is to deny yourself the truth. This admin. is very happy indeed.
Conservation and conserative, kind of similar, I wonder what ever happened, I wonder how they ever got so far apart?
Yes we will have to deal with the Hogan ruling within the boundary we now have no other choice!
My friend, Hogan's decision was appealed to the next highest court, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it was denying the appeal because Judge Hogan's ruling was correct and that Hogan's ruling was based upon the Endangered Species Act. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in this manner sent the case back to the Federal District Court in Oregon in originated in for setting a timetable for NOAA Fisheries to redo the Pacific Salmon Recovery Plan incorporating the hatchery/wild equal fish status of Hogan's ruling.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals through ruling as it did on the appeal, precluded an appeal to the next highest court, the Supreme Court because in effect it made no ruling, which let Hogan's decision stand. Because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided not to hold an appeals hearing, it cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court. Even if the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held an appeals hearing, the likelyhood of the Supreme Court accepting an appeal would be virtually zero since there are not Constitutional issues in the case Hogan ruled on.
Therefore, it doesn't matter what NOAA Fisheries' scientist recommend, NOAA Fisheries must follow the court order of Judge Hogan or the federal district court in Oregon will write the Pacific Salmon Recovery Plan. As it is, Judge Redden (who is another judge on the same Oregon Federal District Court) has ordered NOAA Fisheries to have a revised Pacific Salmon Recovery Plan that includes hatchery fish and a changing of status from threatened or endangered when the inclusion of the hatchery fish shows there is enough salmon present in a river system to prevent extinction by June 2nd, 2004. And Judge Redden has ordered NOAA to include the tribes, the states, the power generators, timber companies, builders, agriculture, and developers as consultants (including referencing what the input and desires of these groups was in the recovery plan) before they give him the revised recovery plan.
The bottom line, Judge Hogan ruled hatchery and wild fish are the same and further ordered NOAA Fisheries to change the status of any salmon present in a river system from threatened or endangered to no-threatened/endangered status when there are hatchery salmon in the river system. I think Judge Hogan should be publicly tarred and feathered for this lunacy; however, it won't change his ruling that is now the law NOAA Fisheries must follow.
What you are missing here Flytyer is that the appeal to the next higher court was done by Earthjustice and not the federal government. It should have been the federal government going to court to protect the science of it's own scientists. What chance did an under funded Earthjustice have of winning this case? Two twenty six year old lawyers with limited funds argueing against the likes of a dozen well schooled lawyers fully funded by the Pacific Legal Foundation or better yet big business. The Bush administration did not go to bat for wild fish. Nixon, even the former Bush administration would have gone to court to protect the threatened right of the ESA and the law of the land. And there are many who say that this case can go to the supreme court if the government really wanted it to. If you know how government works you know that the administration could have stopped this before it ever started. The P.L.F. has a lobby in the white house 24/7. It would have been so easy to say lay off this one is just too hot. If you think the intentions of the PLF was not backed by this administration then I have a dam on the Snake River I can sell you real cheap.
Even you and your political beliefs and you know I respect them because that's who you are and your a friend but you know this administration is out to gut everything that so many people from all political spectrums worked for together for so many years now.
From a legal standpoint, the judge saying that a hatchery fish is the same as a wild fish on the basis of species is virtually impossible to fight. To get an appeals court to say that the ESA allows for differentiation between hatchery and wild fish as different species, would require the appeals court to in effect rule that a black lab is not the same species and variety of dog as a black or chocalate lab, an extremely unlikely event.
Here's something to think about --
Gentlemen-- I've been doing some research, going back to government documents and also looking at what some of the enviros are saying as well.
There is a misunderstanding on what Hogan's ruling really is and really says. I base most of my comments on a seagrant publication discussing the Hogan decision. You can find it easily with a google search on the Hogan decision if you look at the address for Oregon's seagrant program.
Hogan's decision did not say that hatchery fish and wild fish are the same. What his ruling did say was that NMFS (now NOAA/Fisheries) could not, in this particular river, include hatchery fish as part of the ESU and then not count them when considering whether that ESU was endangered. That's it. The "hatchery fish are the same as wild fish" statement came as dicta-- from my understanding of that term, it's something like side comments-- that had nothing to do with the legal standing of the ruling. This ruling applies to no other stock, although several groups will be using it (undoubtedly) when they challenge ESA listings on other stocks. Those challenges have been filed, as I'm sure you know.
In other words, this ruling wasn't a matter of science or genetics necessarily: it was whether or not NOAA should count salmon stocks the same way in two separate situations on the same river. Judge Hogan said they had to by law.
But, oh, what a can of worms he opened.
And OC, there is some interesting reading about increased salmon enhancement funding/intent in the seagrant publication that you might want to think about.
You bet a can of worms was opened!
This ruling is going to have legal standing and precedence in every other case brought to a federal or state court where fisheries professionals are counting or not counting hatchery fish when deciding on the listing or non-listing of a given river's fish stocks as threatened/endangered.
This case will also be used in instances where the hatchery fish were not included in the ESU, which means the river system would have to be closed to all fishing to prevent any taking (killing) of wild fish that are said to be endangered. The lawsuits will be filed to force the fisheries managers to include the hatchery fish on the basis of Hogan's decision that said the hatchery fish must be counted on that Oregon river when making the decision.
In fact, Judge Redden has already used Hogan's ruling when he told NOAA it must include hatchry fish for the rewrite of the Columbia River Salmon Recovery Plan.
Preaching to the choir
Bitching at/to the choir is more like what we are doing. First of all, realize that if anything happens in politics, it was planned! Not necessarily by the democrates, not necessarily by the republicans, but by someone.
Rather than trying to blame this or that party/administration, whatever, we need to realize that there is a conspiracy going on here. Some of the conspirators have already been named. There are undoubtedly more lurking in the shadows. These kind of people (if you can call them that) don't run for office. They just throw money around to get what they want. And they will throw that money in both, or any, direction to accomplish their goals.
Like it or not, it is a conspiracy. And we have been out maneuvered. It is now our move. And that is the key. Move, not whine about it!
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