and Vice President Gore
Protecting Pacific Salmon
November 6, 1999
Today President Clinton announces a major expansion of a national
wildlife refuge to protect prime salmon habitat along the Columbia River. While
taking this step, the President criticized Congress for drastically cutting
proposed funding to help protect salmon in the Pacific Northwest and to implement
an historic Pacific Salmon Treaty between the U.S. and Canada in the Commerce,
Justice, State appropriations bill. In addition, he called on Congress to fund
his environmental budget priorities, including the historic Lands Legacy initiative,
and drop anti-environmental riders that would put our dwindling salmon stocks
further at risk and allow oil companies and other special interests to profit
at the expense of public lands.
Taking Action to Protect Salmon: The Administration has worked with Senator Patty Murray to preserve the Hanford Reach along the Columbia River, the last free-flowing stretch of river between the Canadian border and the Pacific Ocean. Earlier this year, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on future management of DOE's Hanford Site. DOE finalized the EIS last month and just this week issued its record of decision on the Site's future land use. Today, the President announces that lands along the river will be added to the National Wildlife Refuge system. Under this announcement:
- Management responsibility of 57,000 acres of sensitive lands will be transferred
from DOE to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to protect wild salmon
and preserve the important ecological, recreational, and cultural values of
- USFWS will manage the newly transferred land adjacent to the Columbia River
as a part of the existing Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.
Investing in Salmon Recovery: The President's FY 2000 budget
includes new funding priorities to help protect salmon in the Pacific Northwest:
- $100 million to support state, local and tribal efforts to recover coastal
- $60 million to implement the historic Pacific Salmon Treaty to improve scientific
cooperation, restore habitat, and enhance salmon stocks in U.S. and Canadian
- $25 million increases for Federal efforts to protect this species.
Opposing Congressional Cuts in Salmon Protection. Unfortunately,
Congress has drastically cut funding for these two programs and has proposed
damaging anti-environmental riders that would hinder salmon protection. The
Commerce, Justice, State conference bill currently provides only $50 million
for the salmon recovery efforts, and $10 million for Treaty implementation,
and an additional $2 million for endangered species protection, only a fraction
of the needed funds for salmon stock protection. In addition, Congress has proposed
riders that would exempt Alaskan salmon fisheries from the Endangered Species
Act and would hamper our ability to manage important salmon stocks under the
Pacific Salmon Treaty signed earlier this year.
Blocking Special Interest Giveaways. These salmon protections
are not the only environmental safeguards on the congressional chopping block.
Other budget bills would underfund the President's historic Lands Legacy initiative
and contain provisions that would allow special interests, like oil and mining
companies, to profit at the expense of public land. The President
today reiterates his opposition to these stealth attacks by Congress and calls
on Congress to send him budget bills that adequately fund his environmental
budget priorities with no anti-environmental riders.
to return to the text of the President's announcement