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Congressman Doc Hastings Newsletter 4/26/12


Hastings' Statement on Judge Redden's Admitted Bias to Destroy Snake River Dams

followed by: Former salmon judge: Snake dams should come down

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) released the following statement on Judge Redden’s admitted bias to destroy Snake River Dams:

“This interview candidly reveals the activist bias of Judge Redden that I and many in the Pacific Northwest have suspected for years. Due to his personal views, this one judge unilaterally dragged and drove costly litigation on for nearly a decade.

“He issued unprecedented, questionable and expensive rulings resulting in his literally seizing control of the river system’s operation. He ignored clear and sound science that salmon species are returning in numbers greater than before these dams were built, and forced taxpayers to pay for millions of dollars in higher energy bills and lawyers’ fees. He ordered the waste of tens of millions of dollars by forcing the spilling of water past dams that science reveals has benefited few, if any, fish, and may have actually harmed them. He’s ignored federal science that shows more fish benefit from safe barge transportation, and he’s clouded any semblance of the best science and the law regarding federal salmon protection measures supported by three states, many tribes and other stakeholders.

“This one politician-turned-judge kept pursuing his agenda and imposing his own views over the policies of the elected Presidential Administrations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“Judge Redden has admitted his bias in favor of the agenda of radical environmental groups whose sole goal is the extreme act of tearing down hydropower dams that provide the vast majority of the power generated for Northwest families and businesses—about 80 percent for Idaho, 70 percent of Washington and nearly 60 percent for Oregon. This is clean, carbon-free and renewable energy that has supported the Northwest’s vibrant agriculture, technological and trade economies for decades.

“Judge Redden’s bias is being used to further this radical agenda just months after he announced his retirement from the case and as a new, hopefully impartial, judge has been appointed to oversee the endless and unclear future of litigation he perpetuated.

“It’s time for the endless litigation and radical agendas—bolstered by one man’s personal views and grip on a judge’s gavel—to stop and to ensure that the Northwest will be given certainty that a plan supported by states, tribes and others will be approved to ensure that dams keep producing clean, renewable hydropower and allow for abundant salmon for generations to come.”


 Apr. 25, 2012 Tri City Herald


Former salmon judge: Snake dams should come down


 A federal judge who presided over the Columbia River Basin salmon case for years told a public television station that the Snake River's four hydroelectric dams should be breached to help wild salmon.

U.S. District Judge James Redden's comments to Idaho Public Television were recorded for an upcoming Outdoor Idaho documentary and brief video and audio clips were released Wednesday, The Oregonian reported ( http://is.gd/lTVhp8).

"I think we need to take those dams down," Redden said in the interview.

"Trying to take out a dam is not, not very difficult," Redden added. "It's a lot easier than it is putting them up. You don't just take the whole thing down, you just let the water go around it. You just dig out the ditch and let it go around."

The 83-year-old Portland, Ore., judge took himself off the case last fall after earlier rejecting a third federal government plan to balance hydropower operations with the needs of salmon and steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon now oversees the matter. Redden is still practicing, though with a reduced caseload.

Defenders of the Snake River dams say they are needed for reliable power production. Opponents say the harm they do to imperiled fish runs outweighs their benefits.

Redden rejected salmon restoration plans, known as biological opinions, from three presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama.

Last August, he ruled that the Obama administration's update of the last Bush plan was too vague to meet the demands of the Endangered Species Act. Redden added that he didn't think habitat improvements alone would do the job and said it was time to consider new options, including removing some of the dams. He left the plan in force through 2013, when a more specific plan is due.

Redden's 2006 order that water be diverted from turbines to spill over dams and help young salmon migrating to the ocean is his top contribution, Pat Ford, executive director of the conservation coalition Save Our Wild Salmon, said last fall. That order has resulted in increased returns of wild and hatchery salmon alike, Ford said.

Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com





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