The Associated Press recently reported that Gov. Little and 21 other Western state governors want more say in federal decision-making regarding threatened and endangered species. The governors argue that states are “co-sovereigns” with the federal government when addressing species protected under the Endangered Species Act. As co-sovereigns, states are not limited merely to providing comments to proposed federal actions, they must be consulted by those same agencies on ESA-related matters.
Gov. Little now has an opportunity to support his own argument. Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency, is currently trying to get Northwest states and tribes to sign a new round of the Columbia Basin Fish Accords. In these accords, BPA promises to fund fish and wildlife projects if signers pledge full support now and for the length of the accords for all BPA and Corps of Engineers management decisions impacting Idaho’s salmon and steelhead runs. Thus the Fish Accords would require that Idaho give up not only part of its sovereignty, the state would also lose even its right to comment on proposed federal actions, including the operation of dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers.
Just say no, Governor. Just say no.
Janice Inghram, Grangeville