Ten Groups Sue the Government
"The Clinton Administration is not carrying out its own law," said Mitch Sanchotena, Executive Coordinator of Idaho Steelhead and Salmon Unlimited (ISSU).
ISSU joined nine sportfishing, commercial fishing, and conservation groups in suing the Clinton Administration for the third time since the Snake River salmon were declared "Endangered" in 1991.
Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the "1995-98 Biological Opinion for Federal Columbia River Power System Operations" dictates that the federal dam operations be changed in such a way as to restore the Snake River salmon.
The lawsuit states that the measures put forth in the Biological Opinion are inadequate to do the job, and that the Administration is not taking even those inadequate measures.
A recent economic study shows that Idaho has already lost up to 25,000 family wage jobs due to this loss in salmon, and $500 million in annual economic benefits. In addition, "Idaho’s 2700-job steelhead economy is doomed if the Clinton Administration continues to drag its feet," said Charles Ray of Idaho Rivers United. "Our lawsuit is defending those jobs."
"We’re asking the court to rule the (Biological) Opinion invalid," said Don Rohlf, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
The ten groups filing the suit are:
Idaho Steelhead and Salmon Unlimited
Idaho Rivers United
Federation of Fly Fishers
Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations
Institute for Fisheries Resources
"Extinction is Not an Option -- Wild Steelhead and Salmon Belong in Idaho"
--- Idaho Rivers United