[env-trinity] Representative Rahall Invites Dick Cheney to Testify on Klamath Salmon Kill

Josh Allen jallen at trinitycounty.org
Wed Jul 18 08:33:25 PDT 2007

 Representative Rahall Invites Dick Cheney to Testify on Klamath Salmon

By Dan Bacher 

In the latest episode of the "Klamathgate" scandal now rocking the White
House, Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the House
Natural Resources Committee, has invited Vice President Dick Cheney to
testify at a July 31 oversight hearing on his apparent role in
influencing scientific and policy decisions at the Department of the

"As reported in The Washington Post on June 27, 2007, Cheney's
intervention in the development of a 10-year water plan for the Klamath
River resulted in the 2002 die-off of an estimated 77,000 salmon near
the California-Oregon border - and the subsequent collapse of the West
Coast salmon-fishing industry," said Rahall in a press release on July

Rahall said the hearing will seek to examine the causes and consequences
of political intervention in the decision-making process at the Interior
Department. He said the hearing occurs within the context of "an
alarming trend" the Committee began exploring at a May 9 hearing that
delved into the role of the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish
and Wildlife and Parks in politicizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

In a letter to Cheney on Jul 12, Rahall said, "The Committee on Natural
Resources will hold a hearing on July 31, 2007, to examine the role that
elected officials and political appointees within the Administration
have played in the scientific decision making processes under the
Endangered Species Act and other laws governing the conservation and
management of our nation's natural resources. I cordially invite you to
testify at this hearing." 

Referring to the Washington Post piece, Rahall said, "The article
alleges that your intervention in the development of a 10-year water
plan for the Klamath River resulted in a 2002 die-off of around 70,000
salmon near the California-Oregon border - the largest adult salmon kill
in the history of the West. We invite you, as a former member of this
Committee, to offer your views on these reports and explain your role in
this and other decisions." 

Rahall asked Cheney's staff to submit electronicallv statements of
proposed testimony to Nancy Locke, Chief Clerk, no later than Friday,
July 27, 2007. 

"Your oral testimony should not exceed five minutes and should summarize
your written remarks," stated Rahall. "You may introduce into the record
any other supporting documentation you wish to present in accordance
with the enclosed guidelines."

Earthjustice attorney Kristen Boyles said she supports Rep. Nick
Rahall's invitation to Cheney to testify to the Committee on the role he
played in orchestrating Klamath River diversions. These water diversions
devastated the river's salmon runs and deeply hurt the fishermen and
Indian Tribes that depend on them, causing over  $60 million in damages
to coastal economies. 

"Chinook salmon are the mainstay of west coast salmon fishing and
provide the economic underpinnings of coastal communities from central
California to the Canadian border," said Boyles. "Klamath River salmon
were lost in 2002 and in the subsequent years under the Cheney water
diversion plan until it was struck down by a lawsuit brought by
Earthjustice on behalf of commercial fishermen and conservationists. The
loss of this renewable natural resource that provides high quality,
natural food was totally avoidable and hurt many of the people living on
the West Coast."

Boyle also encouraged Rahall to invite Jim Lecky of NOAA Fisheries to
testify and explain why he overrode the expert scientific opinion of his
own head Klamath scientist, Michael Kelly, who had warned that the
Cheney plan posed danger to salmon. 

Rahall called for the hearing on June 28, the day after Representative
Mike Thompson, (D-St. Helena) and 35 other House Democrats from
California and Oregon requested the investigation. 

It will be interesting to see if Cheney accepts Rahall's invitation to
testify before the House Natural Resources Committee. Regardless of
whether Cheney does or not, it is crucial to the future of the Klamath
River and the country's environment that this oversight hearing results
in a thorough and relentless investigation of the alleged manipulation
of science for political purposes by Cheney and other Administration

If the Washington Post's allegations are indeed true, Cheney and other
officials must be held accountable for the damage they have caused to
the Klamath River fisheries and the thousands of lives that depend upon
the river for their survival.



"Leaving No Tracks" Washington Post (6/27/07)



"Federal whistleblower quits, alleges politicization of science" - AP








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