June 30, 2004 11:00 pm

Gains made for fish

To the Editor:

On May 3, The Oregonian joined the chorus of environmental extremists by criticizing a draft outline of an NOAA Fisheries policy that considers the important contribution of hatchery fish when determining the overall status of Pacific Northwest salmon runs. These "chicken littles" are beside themselves because the Bush administration decided to comply with the 2001 Alsea Valley Alliance v. Evans. court ruling that requires the government to include the contributions of hatchery-spawned salmon when deciding whether to list the fish under the Endangered Species Act.

Northwest hatcheries have been in operation for almost 150 years and have played a critical role in maintaining salmon runs, while allowing commercial and tribal harvests to continue. Hatchery and "wild" fish have been inter-breeding for more than a century. The goal of maintaining a true "wild and pure" salmon, while still allowing for commercial harvest and other important human activities, is unrealistic and, frankly, impossible.

Today the Northwest is experiencing record-high salmon runs, in some cases, increases of more than 400 percent. The reason? Effective uses of hatcheries, improved technology at hydroelectric facilities, better habitat, and most importantly, improved ocean conditions.

If the real concern is the health of species, look at the results and not the rhetoric. Meanwhile, why can't we take a moment to relish the gains we've made and appreciate the effort it took to accomplish them?

Barry Bushue


Oregon Farm Bureau Federation


Ours is nation of laws

To the Editor:

Angela Eytchison in the May 22 Observer comments she would like to debate several points in my May 17 letter. It is good to debate these questions.

I do agree with her that terrorists do present some danger to all of us. However, it does not, I believe, change the basic point of my letter. That is, we are a nation of laws, not personalities. We enjoy freedoms provided by our Constitution and through laws. These are what other nations and peoples have admired about the U.S. and its citizens.

When we disregard this great document and our own laws to unilaterally attack a weaker country without genuine proof of danger, we find ourselves in violation of U.S. laws and international laws as well.

David R. Bishop


City of Cove deserves credit

To the Editor:

The Cove Clean-up Day, as reported in the May 26 Observer, was a successful event involving many volunteers and generous sponsors.

The City of Cove especially deserves recognition for its important role in Clean-up Day. The city is the single largest financial supporter of the event, and it annually makes its property available for use by the Cove Community Association as the main drop-off site.

All of us associated with Clean-up Day appreciate the Cove City Council's continuing support of this important activity.

Jim Raphael


Flip-flop on gas tax issue

To the Editor:

On May 17 presidential candidate John Kerry told an extremely large gathering in Portland that gas prices were at an all-time high in the U.S., something we already certainly knew. And he told us why.

President Bush was not slowing the regular addition of crude to the strategic oil reserves. Of course there were other things President Bush was not doing, but Sen. Kerry failed to tell us what those things were.

How strange. In 2000 gas prices were high. Vice President Al Gore was a presidential candidate. President Clinton and Vice President Gore suggested that slowing the addition of crude to the strategic reserve might help lower gas prices. On the floor of the Senate, Sen. Kerry opposed that action saying it would likely do nothing to help lower the high gas prices. But he did have a solution to suggest: raise gas taxes. My, my.

I wonder what flip-flop John will suggest next.

Roy Hills

Island City

Military mind still rules

To the Editor:

I just watched on "60 Minutes" the faces of over 800 men and women of our armed forces who were killed in the Iraq war so far, and it is not over yet.

All the while I kept thinking abut the thousands of children, mothers and fathers, the non-combatants who were killed at the same time.

All of this is because we had poor intelligence, because we were too big for our britches. We couldn't share decision making — still can't. I'm sick of our commander in chief. He must step down next January.

The perpetrators of 9/11 out-smarted us. Our president continued our lack of clear thinking by starting a war to get even with them. I'm not proud of my country right now. I hope I can be proud of it by the time I die.

Over 100 Nobel-prize winners have warned that the most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will not be from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world's dispossessed.

Would that I could have spent my share of the Iraq war expenses helping them instead of blowing them to bits — and some of us. The military mind still rules this country.

W.H. Oberteuffer

Island City