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9:38 pm PT, Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004
Oregon's Coho Salmon Are Partying Tonight - They're Not Going Extinct After All
By Dennis M. Becklin
Publisher / SouthernOregonNews.com

The Ninth District Court of Appeals



The Ninth District Court of Appeals announced today that it is throwing out the Endangered Species Act "threatened" listing of Oregon coastal coho salmon. There's going to be a lot of crow to eat by State and Federal agency operatives, Oregon editorialists and environmentalists who foisted this ESA travesty on the people of Oregon and on the resource based industries of this state.

Right at the top of my crow-eating list is former Governor John Kitzhaber. This governor spent eight years in office pushing the radical environmental salmon agenda. What did he gain for the state? Economic disaster.


Kitzhaber's fixation with saving un-threatened salmon ushered in a calamitous loss of timber industry jobs, countless costs for litigation expenses by resource based industries and an era of economically threatened Oregon communities.


One of those legal actions was directed at the Grants Pass Irrigation District. The ESA coho listing was the club used by State and Federal agencies and environmentalists to beat the irrigation district into submission. Now, GPID will receive the consolation prize of knowing that it was right in its litigation position all along...that the cohos were not going extinct.


The coho decision in the Court of Appeals came too late for GPID. Savage Rapids Dam will be removed at a cost of many millions of dollars...and its removal will not make one whit of difference in the numbers of salmon or steelhead in the Rogue River. Contrary to State and Federal fish bureaucrats who zealously scrambled all over Savage Rapids Dam in the spring of 1998 trying to document the death of just one wild coho juvenile so that GPID could be fined and tortured in legal proceedings...the cohos were not ever going to become extinct.


Studies at the dam in 1998 and 1999 determined conclusively that the dam kills virtually no fish, despite the trumped-up claims in the Final Environmental Report prepared by the Federal Government. But...oh well...we're just going to demolish the dam anyway and chalk up the experience to Kitzhaber's wayward dam hatred.


Also near the top of my crow-eating list are all of the pseudo-environmentalists, FishExtremeist flyfishing political action groups, commercial fishing lobbyist/lawfirms and other environmental activists who have been proclaiming hatchery fish to be inferior to wild fish of the same species. The Appeals Court allowed to stand the earlier decision by US District Court Judge Michael Hogan that a coho is a coho, is a coho, is a coho. Fish that are genetically identical, as are wild and hatchery cohos, are in fact identical.


Right up there in the crow pecking order is a litany of Oregon editorialists who curtsied to the false science of self-proclaimed salmon-savers and spread the gospel of coho falsehoods far and wide. To them...an extra portion of crow for the distorted view that many citizens subscribed to after hearing the same wild/hatchery fish baloney over and over and over.


Some of the damage done to Oregon's resource based industries is irreparable. Those zealots who are responsible for pursuing false claims about cohos in the name of science should pay a very big price...but they won't, of course.


The hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at unnecessary salmon recovery is ghastly. The only benefactors of this waste are the environmental law firms that profited by claiming and receiving their legal fees, paid for by American taxpayers, under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act


Dennis M. Becklin, Publisher
SouthernOregonNews LLC




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