In court now, the latestround in the fight between the federal government and the pro-salmon coalition of tribes, conservationists, and sport fisherman. The salmon advocates want to hold the feds responsible for the harm done to salmon by the Columbia and Snake River dams.
The most (unintentionally) hilarious quote from today’s coverage comes from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
…the Justice Department argued that the federal agencies that control the 14 dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers cannot be held responsible for the existence of the dams…
Uh… didn’t the federal government build the dams in the first place?
Of course, the real issues are much more complex than I’m giving credit for here. Much hinges on the extent to which the government is responsible for dam-induced salmon mortality and what it must do to protect the fish. Perhaps the biggest issue this summer will be whether the dam operators spill more water for fish passage, which will likely raise the cost of electricity in a drought year when rates may already be high.