Idaho senator tries to axe center that analyzes endangered salmon
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) has inserted a rider into the federal energy bill that would eliminate funding for the Fish Passage Center, which has tracked salmon in the Columbia and Snake River systems in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years. Craig is peeved that the center’s fish survival data was used to support a recent federal court order mandating summer spills over Snake River dams, impacting electricity rates and barge travel along the rivers. The senator took umbrage at the center’s support for what he calls a “controversial and one-sided” salmon recovery policy. Many other interested parties, from Indian tribes to state fish biologists to fishers to federal judges, support the center. Michele DeHart, the center’s manager, says it compiles “data that is accurate and, yes, it does show that the federal hydro system kills fish.” The Bonneville Power Administration, which both dispenses money to the center and sells electricity produced by federal dams, says it will not fight for or against Craig’s measure.