Settlements reached Monday with four Northwest Indian tribes
would commit federal agencies to spend $900 million over the
next decade on improving conditions for endangered salmon,
but leave intact hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River
Basin that environmentalists say kill fish.
Federal officials called the agreement a landmark in the
long-running dispute over balancing tribal and commercial
fishing rights, protection for threatened salmon and power
demands from the region's network of hydroelectric dams.
But environmentalists said the deal fell far short of what is
needed to recover threatened salmon, an icon of the
Northwest that is protected by the Endangered Species Act
and costs the government billions of dollars to protect.
Via: Oregon Live LINK
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski refused to sign on to the deal calling it shortsighted. The Nez Perce tribe also refused to sign on saying the 4 lower Snake River dams should be removed.
Below is a summary of the "deal" from Save Our Wild Salmon.
SUMMARY OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION-LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER TRIBES
DEAL FOR COLUMBIA-SNAKE SALMON LITIGATION
Over the past two years, the Bush Administration has been meeting with representatives from the
four lower Columbia River tribes to determine whether the two parties could come to an
agreement to avoid continued litigation by the Tribes over the operation of the federal dams on
the Columbia and Snake rivers. In the past, the four lower Columbia River tribes – the
Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Yakama Indian Nation, the
Nez Perce Tribe, and the Confederated Tribe of the Umatilla Indian Reservation – have been
strong critics of the Bush Administration’s failure to make major changes to the dam operations.
They have pointed out correctly that under this administration the federal agencies responsible
for dam operations have politicized the science and allowed salmon and steelhead of the
Columbia-Snake River Basin to continue their spiral toward extinction. Nevertheless, three of
the four lower Columbia Treaty tribes (i.e., Warm Springs, Yakamas, Umatillas) and the
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation recently signed an agreement with the Bush
Administration (i.e., three federal agencies: Bonneville Power Administration, the Army Corps
of Engineers, and Bureau of Reclamation) that allows past dam operations to continue
unchanged in return for major financial support for tribal hatchery and habitat programs.