Most everyone watching the dam/salmon drama will be surprised to learn that the litigants in the decades-long case, have never asked for dam breaching as a solution to the problem. Never.
While the plaintiffs have publicly demanded the removal of earthen embankments holding back the Lower Snake River, they have never asked any of the three federal judges presiding over the long-running case, to exercise the one solution that will recover salmon and end the legal arguments.
Now we learn from Judge Simons' Order to Stay the Litigation, only Amicus Curiae (aka. Friend of the Court) Jim Waddell argues that the Court, "under authority provided by the Endangered Species Act, should 'order breach of the lower Snake River dams starting this year.'"
"No party in this lawsuit, however, has moved for such an order, nor have the parties presented legal argument on whether the Court legally can enter any such order. Thus, it is premature to consider this issue,” Judge Simon responded.
It seems obvious that the Northwest Power Act, the Endangered Species Act and Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution all provide sufficient language for the judicial branch to order dam breaching.
Time runs on. The litigants apparently fear to make this move, and the public remains oblivious.
I am reminded of the hopeful schoolchild waiting endlessly to be asked to the dance, while the shy classmate finds too many reasons why not to make The Ask. The prom goes on without them, and only their parents know of the sad dilemma.
With only a short window of opportunity left open before salmon and orcas spiral to extinction, the time has come to make The Ask. Get up your gumption; let your dream date decide to say "Yes" or "No." Why are you waiting endlessly?
Scott Levy, Ketchum