STATEMENT FROM NW ENERGY COALITION
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SARA PATTON
Dec. 11, 2012 – Today the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sent a letter to hundreds of stakeholders in the ongoing struggle to restore several wild salmon stocks endangered by the federal hydropower system in the Northwest.
The letter heralds a new approach by federal agencies to the myriad issues involved in Columbia Basin salmon recovery. It announces a process for gathering diverse stakeholders’ opinions on the best strategies for forging lasting, long-term solutions.
On behalf of the NW Energy Coalition and its more than 110 organizational members, I applaud the start of wide stakeholder engagement in a Northwest salmon recovery that benefits fish, people, the economy, clean energy and our shared environment. As director of an alliance representing consumers, utilities, clean energy businesses, labor, environmentalists, faith groups and others, I know that open, collaborative discussions among all interested parties offer the greatest opportunities for long-term success.
Clearly, the exact form this collaboration will take after the initial input gathering is yet to be determined. We hope that the federal agencies move quickly to establish a formal solutions process. After decades of illegal salmon-recovery plans, it’s high time to move forward with an approach that works. Early indications of declining salmon returns next year further underscore the need for immediate action.
We can have clean, ample and affordable energy, a robust bulk transport system, good jobs in a growing economy AND recover our iconic and economically crucial Northwest salmon stocks … if we can sit down, look at the science and work out our differences.
Again, congratulations to NOAA for embarking on a new course. We’re excited to get started.