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Bush Steals Credit from Ocean

August 23rd, 2003

It’s not like we expect him not to lie or anything, but he seems to get more and more shameless concerning whom or what he steals credit from. This time it’s the ocean. “We can have good clean hydroelectric power and salmon restoration going on at the same time,” Bush said during a speech in which he claimed his policies were responsible for the increase in Salmon runs in the northwest. Bush got a great deal of applause from the stacked audience, and a nice photo-op. Unfortunately, he was also lying through his teeth.

There is widespread agreement that the increase in Salmon numbers are due to improved oceanic conditions, a natural phenomenon that has no relation to Bush’s policies. Furthermore, the fish that are returning now bred four years ago, well before Bush became president. And Bush’s policies have been to keep fish-unfriendly dams in place, rather doing the minimum possible to make the dams “fish-friendly.” But the higher number of fish is also due to hatcheries, which avoid the river-blocking dams; wild fish numbers continue to be dangerously low.

An analyst for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission pointed out that “the policies of this administration will not prevent these fish from extinction. … They are basically doing nothing.” Rebecca Wodder, a conservationist for American Rivers, said that “far from contributing to healthy salmon populations, the administration’s policies actually threaten wild salmon and the local economies that depend on them.” Joe Lieberman chimed in, saying, “George Bush taking credit for increased salmon populations is like a sailor taking credit for the tides.” Glen Spain, speaking for the Pacific Coast Federation Fisherman’s Association, said, “I’m a Republican. I don’t want to criticize the administration, but they haven’t done anything for us.”

Bush, on a campaign tour through the northwest, was planning on presenting his case for forest-thinning at Camp Sherman in the Cascade Mountains. Critics claim the policy is a thinly-veiled excuse for increased logging, as it thins trees in places where fires are not really a threat, and that the logging companies would be taking out mature trees as much as it would be removing undergrowth, the real danger.

Ironically, Bush had to change venue. The forest he wanted to make his photo-op in front of was on fire.

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