March 09, 2005

Crapo Water, Salmon Talks Recess As PartiesAgree No Intent To Sue Will Be Filed Monday

Senator seeks collaboration versus litigation

Boise - A plaintiffâ??s coalition of groups that had filed a notice of intent to sue over salmon and water issues in Idaho announced today they had decided not to re-file that notice of intent this coming Monday. The announcement came as collaborative talks initiated by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo recessed today at the Idaho Statehouse. Crapo said the announcement would extend efforts to collaborate, rather than litigate, salmon recovery issues. The plaintiffâ??s coalition could re-file the legal notice at any time, but said they wanted to discuss proposals made during the talks with their constituent groups.This past week, Crapo has shuttled between groups representing Idaho water users, farmers, businesses, and municipalities, to four other groups considering a lawsuit over linkages between Upper Snake River water and salmon recovery efforts on the Lower Snake and Columbia Rivers. â??To my knowledge this is the first time in the history of Idaho that we have brought all sides to the table to begin collaborative discussions on these salmon and water issues,â?? Crapo said following the recess of the talks. â??Now we can consider proposals to build collaboration rather than litigation. This is serious and both sides are giving it serious consideration. They are sincere in their efforts.â??Many groups are represented at the table. They include the plaintiffs in the case-Idaho Rivers United, Idaho Conservation League, American Rivers, and the National Wildlife Federation. The Idaho Water Users are also present, joined by water coalition members that include the Idaho Farm Bureau, Potato Growers of Idaho, Idaho Grain Producers, Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, and others. Also represented are the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which was named as a defendant in the notice of intent to sue; NOAA Fisheries, representatives from Idahoâ??s Governor and Attorney Generalâ??s offices, and the Nez Perce Tribe.Crapo said more talks would be scheduled after both sides took proposals back to their constituency groups for consideration. â??These are among the most political and complex issues in Idaho. Regarding solutions, weâ??re not there yet, but weâ??ve only begun talking.â?? # # #