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FEEDBACK: Best Available Science For River Ops

-- From John McKern, Walla Walla, Wash. Friday, March 7, 2008 Columbia Basin Bulletin

In reference your lead article in CBB, 02/29/2008: REDDEN SETS SPILL, TRANSPORTATION REGIMES FOR 2008 HYDRO OPERATIONS


I would like to know what "best available science" Earthjustice has that convinces Judge Redden that he knows better how to run the federal hydropower system than the agencies charged by Congress with that responsibility.

I believe the best available science is that gathered by the Corps of Engineers Anadromous Fish Evaluation Program and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's research funded under their Fish and Wildlife Program. In 2007, the Corps funded 51 studies at over $90 million and the NPCC funded nearly $20 million in additional research. The Corps has been funding dam related fish research for seven decades and the NPCC for another two decades. Who out there has funded more research or gathered more "best available science" on the impacts of the Columbia River Dams on fish and wildlife?

It seems that all Earthjustice and the dambusters have to do is allege that there is better science out there somewhere and the judge brings his gavel down hard on the federal agencies. Having been on the firing line for one of those federal agencies for many years, I know that the environmental laws require them to use the "best available science." Knowing many of the players still fighting the battle, I am confident that they are using the best science. However I don't see any evidence that Earthjustice has better science, and I am appalled that our laws, ones which Judge Redden is sworn to uphold, don't require him to use the "best available science."

Based on bogus information that belies the "best available science" the honorable judge's spill program will kill more juvenile salmon again this year than correct operation of the hydropower system by the federal agencies. If you don't believe that, then YOU have not kept up with the "best available science."

John McKern


Walla Walla, WA 99362

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