Northwest NEWS

November 23, 1998


In the case of salmon, actions seem to speak louder than words

Whoa to such inconsistency among Governor Gary Locke, King County Executive Ron Sims, and the Oct. 19 Pacific Fishery Management Council's draft recommendations for protecting salmon habitat.

   The latter says re-establish urban wetlands and create dryland buffers around all wetlands and along all streams, including intermittent streams. Bring back beavers to increase surface water areas; preserve and replant trees; and limit and eliminate the roads.

   Governor Locke's spokesman says to spend $25 million to boost the work force to "ensure a growing and healthy software industry," while Executive Sims intends to lend $8 million to a private developer at a 1% per year interest rate to build a Westin Hotel at SeaTac Airport that will create 200 construction jobs. This, in an economy where the shortage of construction workers has escalated Seattle-area construction costs tremendously. And if there's public money to lend to private industry, which supposedly is a no-no, surely there are more deserving parties than a wealthy hotel group?

   Bearing in mind that rural areas are unavailable for development, where in the urban areas do the governor and the executive think they'll find room to house and transport the new workers for the new jobs and still provide room for newly-created and enhanced wetlands and streams buffers within those same urban areas?

   Both Governor Locke and Executive Sims have spoken to the importance of impressing the federal government with our own efforts to protect and enhance salmon habitat in order to avoid an Endangered Species Act salmon listing.

   So far, their louder-speaking actions belie their words, as creating new jobs that require more impervious surface for worker housing and transportation will not meet the conditions set forth in the fishery council document.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville