Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: salmon


Don’t threaten salmon habitat with huge Alaska mine

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Two foreign companies want to open an immense gold and copper mine in Alaska that would create 2,500 construction jobs and generate up to $180 million annually in taxes and royalties.

That’s great — for Alaska. But the Pebble Mine could harm West Coast salmon fisheries by threatening key Bristol Bay habitat. And that’s if everything goes right with the mine. If something were to go wrong, the effects would be devastating to a $500 million industry that provides full- and part-time jobs for more than 14,000 workers in commercial and native

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Something fishy about Canada’s response to salmon virus

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

In October, a British Columbia professor sent a chill through Northwest fishery circles. He claimed to have found traces of a potentially devastating virus in two wild sockeye taken from waters in northern British Columbia.

The virus – infectious salmon anemia (ISA) – has killed millions of farmed salmon in Europe and Chile. The great fear here in the Northwest is that somehow it will develop in one of the many salmon farms along the B.C. coast and be transmitted to wild salmon.

Now comes a bombshell that threatens to damage the relationship between the United State and Canada on fishery issues. Read more »


A wild future for the long-dammed Elwha River

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

The two dams on the Olympic Peninsula’s Elwha River were a bad idea when they were built early in the 20th century. It’s taken what seems like forever to undo the mistake.

But it’s finally happening. Bulldozers are clearing 37 acres of trees on the Elwha River, the first stage of a complex engineering operation that will culminate in the removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams. The next step is to create a “pilot channel” to make sure the sediment trapped behind the dams – the equivalent of 1 million pickup loads – gets flushed downstream properly when the structures are dismantled.

The actual dismantling begins a year from now.

A $50 million boost from last year’s federal stimulus package helped get the $350 million project started a year early. But “early” is a relative term here. Some people – especially the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe – have been talking about tearing out the dams for at least a quarter century.

Over the course of the first Bush and Clinton and second Bush administrations, the U.S. government moved from reluctant to interested to committed. The decision and money have been a long time coming, but we’re finally seeing tangible evidence that the dams are going.

Their removal will reverse one of the biggest environmental blunders in state history. The completion of the Elwha Dam in 1913 and the Glines Canyon Dam in 1927 cut migrating salmon and steelhead off from 70 miles of upriver spawning habitat, leaving them only five miles downriver. Wild runs that once numbered in the hundreds of thousands were reduced to hundreds.
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Morning roundup of NW editorial pages

Some items of interest from today’s opinion pages:

• The Everett Herald makes the case why a recent Court of Appeals ruling overturning a Bothell man’s 2007 misdemeanor stalking conviction because the jury that convicted him was made up of residents from two counties.

• The Tri-City Herald celebrates strong Columbia salmon returns and concludes that something short of dam breaching must be working.

• The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin cheers Veterans Affairs’ new rule that veterans will no longer have to prove their post-traumatic stress disorder was triggered by specific bomb explosion or combat event.

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Fed’s salmon plan as good as it will get

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

For a federal judge in Portland, it’s go time.

U.S. District Judge James Redden has presided over nearly a decade of litigation on the federal government’s plan to recover the Columbia River basin’s 13 federally protected runs of salmon and steelhead.

He’s rejected a Democratic administration’s proposal and a Republican administration’s proposal. Now he’s faced with something of a hybrid – and a ticking clock.

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