THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE
I am pleased to announce today an agreement with Senator Hatfield, Senator Murray, Senator Baucus and members of the Northwest Congressional delegation that allows Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to maintain its current level of protection of salmon while keeping it competitive in the region.
This agreement combines administrative and legislative measures to achieve a scientifically sound fish recovery plan and a stable, reasonable budget for BPA's fish recovery costs. Today's bipartisan agreement is innovative, efficient, and fair. It is a model for working partnerships on important issues. It proves that economic concerns can be addressed without overriding environmental laws and demonstrates the flexibility inherent in the Endangered Species Act.
The Administration is committed to working with the region and its representatives to ensure BPA's financial health and to maintain efforts to recover salmon in the Columbia and Snake river runs. Senator Hatfield, Senator Murray, Senator Baucus and the entire delegation understand that BPA needs more financial certainty in order to make the transition to the new, competitive electric power market. But it is also important that BPA meet its commitment to help rebuild these runs and promote sustainable development of the region's rivers.
While there is still much work to be done before these measures are fully enacted, it is clear that the steps outlined in this agreement will achieve our shared goals of protecting the financial and the environmental health of the region.