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“This smells as bad as 80,000 dead salmon”

By rgordon
Thursday, June 28th, 2007 at 6:20 pm in Uncategorized.

U.S. Rep Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, thinks Vice President Dick Cheney is up to something mighty fishy.

Eshoo is one of three dozen members of Congress from California and Oregon who signed a letter Wednesday calling for a Congressional investigation into Cheney’s role in the 2002 diversion of water from the Klamath River Basin. The diversion preceded the largest commercial salmon fishing disaster in U.S. history and devastated commercial and recreational fishing in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

U.S. Rep Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, also signed the letter.

The members made the request for hearings to U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.V., the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, after the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Cheney pressured mid-level bureaucrats in the U.S. Department of the Interior to divert water from the Klamath River Basin to benefit Republican political prospects among Oregon farmers.

Salmon fisherman

“This smells as bad as 80,000 dead salmon,” Eshoo said in a statement. “Those who depend on salmon for their livelihood, including many of my constituents, deserve to know exactly what the Vice President did to implement a water policy that circumvented the Endangered Species Act and devastated commercial, sport and tribal fishing in California and Oregon.”

The diversion led to the death of about 80,000 salmon and still contributes to low returns of salmon to the Klamath. In 2006, low returns forced the closure of most commercial and recreational salmon fishing along the Pacific Coast, devastating fishermen like the one pictured above at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.

Eshoo and her colleagues pressed Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez to declare a fishing disaster for the West Coast, and last month secured $60 million to help the fishing industry recover.

“The Vice President is not above the law or immune from Congressional oversight,” Eshoo said. “It’s time for the Vice President to come clean.”

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