Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Salmon Fishermen Aid Delayed

It is difficult to argue with either position here, one, that an industry is suffering and needs help (something government does) and two, that the reality of the suffering is still unknown so the government wants to wait until then to provide aid (good fiscal management by government).

Here is an excerpt.

Delay in salmon fisheries aid prompts anger
By David Whitney -- Bee Washington Bureau Published 12:01 am PDT Wednesday, June 28, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration said in a heated meeting with West Coast House members Tuesday that there will be no economic aid until at least February for salmon fishermen idled because of the collapsing Klamath River fishery.

"This is NOAA saying to the fishermen of California and Oregon: Drop dead," snapped Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, after the closed meeting with Conrad Lautenbacher, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The virtual closure of the West Coast salmon season is affecting fishermen from Monterey to Portland.

"This has hurt communities just as seriously as Hurricane Katrina," said Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara. "We have fishermen in San Luis Obispo suffering, not being able to make their boat payments, not being able to continue their family businesses. Our communities need help, and they need it now."

Thompson and Capps were among a half-dozen House members appealing directly to Lautenbacher and the Commerce Department for $81 million in disaster aid for the fishermen and dependent communities. The meeting followed a letter from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Bush administration Monday expressing deep frustration over the delay.

"I am at a loss as to what further information you need so that our fishing-dependent communities can become eligible to receive disaster assistance," the governor said.

The House members said they were told no disaster declaration would be coming until at least February, after the closure of the season and enough time for the administration to calculate actual damages.