Thursday, June 28, 2007

Investigation of Cheney/Smith Klamath deal in the works

It looks like Darth Dick Cheney is going to have to deal with yet another investigation into his dirty dealings:

Late Wednesday evening, U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, received a letter from 36 House Democrats from California and Oregon calling for an oversight hearing on the alarming role Vice President Dick Cheney may have played in Klamath River Basin decisions. As reported by the Washington Post on June 27, 2007, Cheney’s intervention in the development of a 10-year water plan for the Klamath River resulted in a 2002 die-off of around 70,000 salmon near the California-Oregon border – the largest adult salmon kill in the history of the West.

Today, Rep. Rahall released the following statement in response to the request from House Democrats:

“This Committee has already begun examining the penchant for this Administration to favor politics over science in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, which was highlighted during a May 9th hearing and in the resignation of the Interior Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks over the fiasco.

“In light of the revelations being made over the situation in the Klamath River Basin, it is my intention to again convene the Committee to delve into the issues raised by the Members of Congress from California and Oregon. It certainly appears this Administration will stop at nothing to achieve political gain from natural resources disasters. Ultimately, it will be hardworking Americans and their healthy environment that will lose if we fail to act.”

Interestingly, the local daily couldn't be bothered to write such a significant story. We have to look all the way to Seattle:

WASHINGTON — West Coast Democrats called for a hearing Wednesday into the role Vice President Dick Cheney may have played in the 2002 die-off of about 70,000 salmon near the California-Oregon border.

An article in The Washington Post on Wednesday said Cheney played a crucial role in developing a 10-year water plan for the Klamath River that courts later called arbitrary and in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Democrats charged that Cheney's action resulted in the largest adult salmon kill in the history of the West.

"The ramifications of that salmon kill are still being felt today as returns to the Klamath River are so low that commercial, sport and tribal fishing seasons have been curtailed for the past three years," Democrats said in a letter calling for the hearing.

I live in hope that the Oregonian will actually assign this story to a local investigative reporter with the actual chops (Walth) to follow it where it leads.

I'll try not to turn blue holding my breath, however.

[Update: 10:55--TJ tells me that the O has this in their print edition. I scoured the online version at Oregonlive and couldn't find it, so its either buried online or it isn't there, I guess]

[Update: 11:30--Here is the O's story online. The update says 10:40, which is when I was wrapping up writing the initial piece, which probably explains why I couldn't find it]
(h/t: The Gavel, aka Pelosi's blog)