In late February, Gov. Brown’s office announced the Columbia Basin Collaborative.
The CBC was developed by the governors of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. It strives to put an end to litigation, bringing the region’s sovereign tribes, states and stakeholder groups together to promote a collaborative effort in recovery of Columbia River Basin salmon and steelhead.
Ironically, less than a week later, Gov. Brown directed the state to file a lawsuit in federal court over the federal government’s latest plan for hydropower operations in the Columbia River Basin and the biological opinion in support of the plan under the Endangered Species Act.
This litigation directly conflicts with the governor’s commitment to first collaborate to develop a solution. The fact that this litigation has been in the courts for more than 20 years is testament that legal action is an unworkable solution. And it is definitely a far cry from Gov. Brown’s stated commitment to a collaborative approach.
Recent blackouts in California and Texas have hopefully instilled in our leaders the importance of making sound, educated decisions. Reliability of our electric grid has never been more important.
Decisions made in climate-controlled government buildings, with access to the full gamut of government and city services on a beautiful summer day, may seem like good politics with special interest groups. However, the outcome of those decisions in rural areas during an extreme weather event with no electricity suddenly becomes life-threatening. Oregon needs to get back to the negotiating table.