Monday, May 10, 2010

Eastern WA calls on Senators Murray and Cantwell

by Don Barbieri, Chairman, Red Lion Hotels

More than 55 Eastern Washington business and community leaders signed a letter last week asking our friends, Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, to provide positive leadership in solving the long-standing salmon crisis that touches all who live, work and recreate in our region. I was among the signers because this issue matters greatly to me and to my community. The letter was published in the Pacific Northwest Inlander and demonstrates the broad support among the business community in our area for coming together to create opportunity out of crisis.

Read the letter to Senators Murray and Cantwell.

A new generation of business leaders is recognizing that what benefits the environment usually benefits business. Creating salmon solutions means jobs in Spokane, Walla Walla, and Clarkston. It means improvements in quality of life that will draw residents and tourists to Eastern Washington for generations to come. Ending this crisis presents an opportunity to restore health to our rivers, create economic synergies and protect a timeless Washington State heritage, our salmon and steelhead. My great-grandfather told us stories of the "June Hogs," massive spring Chinook salmon that once entered the Spokane River and spawned right at the base of the Spokane Falls. They disappeared from the Spokane Falls not long after the construction of early 20th-century dams, but the Snake River salmon are still with us, and they need our collective action today.

In that spirit, the Working Snake River for Washington project represents an exciting moment for our Washington State as more people understand the opportunities that real salmon recovery and healthy rivers could provide our region as we move into the 21st century.

I'm asking you to follow the Working Snake River for Washington project, to get involved and join this exciting new venture as we begin the dialogue that promises a better future. With leadership from Senators Cantwell and Murray, we can forge strong solutions for salmon, protect northwest values and take advantage of the opportunities this moment presents to create economic prosperity for the next generation.

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