Larry Craig’s Fall May Benefit Salmon

Now here’s a headline you don’t see every day: “Sen. Craig’s fall may benefit salmon.”

So, how exactly will fish benefit from a change in the Senate? Presumably, salmon were already able to use the bathroom in peace and having a “wide stance” is not much of a problem in the deep blue sea.

It turns out to have nothing to do with Craig’s infamous recreational activities.

The surprising fall of Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, removes a longtime obstacle to efforts by Democrats and environmentalists to promote salmon recovery on Northwest rivers.

Craig, who was removed from leadership posts on the Senate Appropriations and Energy committees after a sex scandal, is known as one the most powerful voices in Congress on behalf of the timber and power industries. Environmentalists have fought him for years on issues from endangered salmon to public land grazing.

Now Senate Democrats, exercising their slim majority, have waded into two contentious issues — both related to Snake River salmon. First, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada asked federal regulators to require passage for salmon and steelhead for relicensing of the Hells Canyon Complex, a series of dams on the Snake River between Oregon and Idaho. Reid says the passage would allow salmon to return to their historical spawning grounds in northern Nevada, where the shimmering fish used to run thick nearly a century ago.

Meanwhile, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has asked her colleagues to undo Craig’s bid to use a federal spending bill to dictate water flow for Snake River fish.

There’s probably an Evel Knievel joke in there somewhere.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Everyone knows with a wide stance, it’s easier to swim upstream to spawn.