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President Trump commutes the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Plus, warming expected to be hot topic at NV debate.

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Congress Investigates VP's Role in Klamath Fish Die-Off

July 2, 2007

The House Natural Resources Committee wants to know the extent of Vice President Dick Cheney's involvement in the West's largest adult salmon kill in history. They're opening hearings on the controversial 2002 plan that diverted water to irrigators in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Steve Pedery with Oregon Wild says the effects of that salmon kill are still hurting the region-commercial fishing in Oregon and California was cut by over 90 percent last year causing more than $60 million in economic losses and forcing a fisheries disaster declaration.

“It's a little strange that we've had Cheney intervening in these fisheries decisions in the Klamath Basin in 2002 and then four years later saying we feel your pain to fishermen on the coast, and it wasn't a case of feeling your pain, it was a case of causing your pain.”

Pedery notes the Bush administration has consistently taken the view that the fish are the enemy without realizing that there are communities and people that depend on those fish.

“What we really need is to find some kind of balance rather than just saying we're going to side with the irrigators, and they're going to get all the water and if the fish don't make it, tough.”

The courts have said the plan was arbitrary, ignored scientific evidence and violated the Endangered Species Act. The Vice President's office has not issued a statement on the investigation.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR