At this year’s Andrus Center Environmental Conference on salmon, energy, agriculture and community, both Gov. Brad Little and Congressman Mike Simpson took the lead in working to find solutions for Idaho’s salmon and steelhead.

Take Action Now to thank Gov. Brad Little and Cong. Mike Simpson for urging bold action on salmon and steelhead.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little opened this year’s conference by announcing that he was in favor of “breaching the status quo.” He then stated that his Office of Species Conservation will coordinate a state working group to develop “consensus and Idaho-based innovational approaches”  to saving Idaho’s fish while taking into account the interests of different stakeholders.

Justin Hayes, the Idaho Conservation League’s incoming executive director said, “We’re thankful for Gov. Little’s comments at the Andrus Center Environmental Conference. The working group he announced today is a first step that was sorely needed to bring different interests together to work to find a solution for saving our salmon and steelhead. It’s an important issue that affects Idaho’s rivers, fish, agriculture, economy, people and culture. We thank Gov. Little for recognizing how critical it is to make progress on this issue and how important it is to bring people together.”

During his lunch address, Congressman Mike Simpson silenced the audience by strongly advocating for Idaho’s salmon and steelhead. “I’m tired of Idaho paying all the costs of these dams and not getting the benefits,” he said. “We’re not getting salmon back to Idaho and frankly, I’m getting tired of it.”

He asked the crowd to seriously consider the hard questions associated with the issues that are intertwined with saving these fish. He said his office started asking “what if” questions: If the dams were to come out, how would you address Lewiston? . . How would you address the barging issue to get grain down the river?. . How would you address the Washington farmers that would have to adjust their intake and everything else for farming?

“I’m gonna stay alive long enough to get healthy salmon to Idaho,” Simpson added.

“Congressman Mike Simpson made the most important speech from an Idaho politician in 15 years. You could hear a pin drop when he made his remarks. He understands fully the challenges that all Idahoans face in working to find a solution that saves Idaho salmon and steelhead while keeping everyone whole,” said ICL’s Hayes.

He added, “The conference helped bring people together in a way that acknowledged Idaho’s salmon and steelhead are in trouble. As we heard, the current situation is not working. Idaho’s political leaders recognize we need to take bold action to restore them and we have to work together to find solutions that work for all Idahoans.”