Need to improve salmon restoration plan

August 9, 2011

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Patty Murray
The Honorable Maria Cantwell
United States Senate
Washington DC 20510

Dear President Obama,

Wild salmon and steelhead are some of America’s greatest natural resources. For centuries, these iconic fish have fed our people, supported thousands of jobs, and brought life and productivity to our oceans and rivers. Though greatly diminished, wild salmon and steelhead are still essential to the economies, cultures and health of communities across the western United States.

Many of the undersigned businesses are directly connected to the salmon: fishing, food, outdoor recreation, and clean energy industries. The futures of our companies and employees depend on recovering wild salmon, protecting our foods and farms, and building a clean energy economy. As businesspeople, we see effective recovery as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth in many other sectors as well. We write today to ask you to restore the irreplaceable resource of Columbia-Snake Basin wild salmon and to do so in a manner that protects and expands job opportunities in our and other industries.

Many businesspeople whose livelihoods depend upon salmon, fishing, healthy rivers, outdoor recreation, and clean energy welcomed your presidency with hope and confidence – expecting much-needed change. Unfortunately, your administration continues to endorse an ineffective and illegal status quo Columbia Basin salmon policy. The federal court ruling that the current Columbia Basin plan is illegal provides the opportunity to make a decisive change that protects existing jobs and creates many more new ones by restoring the Northwest’s priceless salmon and steelhead runs – once the largest in the world.

Columbia Basin salmon were first declared at risk of extinction nearly twenty years ago. Since then, taxpayers have spent more than $10 billion on restoration efforts that have been largely unsuccessful because they fail to address the real causes of decline. As a result, Pacific salmon state communities continue to lose thousands of jobs primarily in fishing-related industries. Defenders of salmon have slowed these losses with recent court victories over some of your federal agencies, but the downward population trend of wild salmon toward extinction will continue without a decisive change in Columbia Basin policy. Many of our businesses will shrink, and some will close, if your administration’s old – and now discredited – salmon policy persists.

The previous administration’s salmon plan that you adopted in 2010 is bad law and bad science. It is also killing jobs. Our salmon and our businesses deserve a new approach. We urge you to seize this opportunity and bring together all stakeholders – fishermen, farmers, utilities and others – to work together to craft a lawful, science-based plan that restores salmon, protects this important food source, puts thousands of people to work, and helps to build a cleaner energy future.

We pledge our sustained support and assistance to make this collaboration successful.


PCC Natural Markets

Click here to see a list of the other businesses, organizations, and individuals who signed on to the letter.

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