The problem isn't so much the integrity of the science coming out of NOAA changing for the better or worse with a change from the Department of Commerce to the Department of the Interior. The problem with NOAA's science of late has been this silly notion that we must collaborate regardless of whether the collaborators have completely opposing viewpoints and end goals.
Yes, yes, tell all the young ones to collaborate throughout life, but do tell them that when they come face to face with someone diametrically opposed to their viewpoint and goals that conflict will occur and that they shouldn't always collaborate to solve the conflict. People win and lose everyday in this world, so break the news to little one today before they watch too much soccer and think ties are the norm.
Imagine if the world would have "collaborated" with Hitler. I realize that this may seem like I am about to compare someone to Hitler, but I am not (just missed my shot at being a Fox News contributor with that backtrack). The proverbial hen doesn't collaborate with the fox over entrance into the hen house. Thus, it never came as a surprise to me that when NOAA is "collaborating" with the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the "science" NOAA would produce for the Biop would be thrown out of any rational thinking court room.
The goal of the Bonneville Power Administration is to sell power to rate payers. The goal of the Army Corps of Engineers is to manipulate rivers for various reasons including commerce. Those probably aren't the over worded stated missions of those two organizations that some committee over thought, but essentially those are the goals of those two agencies. NOAA essentially "enriches life through science," or something vague like that with some piece about the protection of natural resources. Anyway, the point is, you take two organizations whose existence depends on hydroelectric dams (whether that is really the truth, it is the reality they operate under) and you force the enriching science folks at NOAA to "collaborate" with them, naturally the salmon and the science are going to get the short shrift and be watered down.
If you move NOAA over to Interior, does that mean they don't have to collaborate with the foxes manipulating the hen's (salmon) home? If so, then we have made some progress. Then we might get back to actual science pointing out that the survival of Snake River basin salmon is only possible with the breaching of the four lower Snake River dams, just as the scientists from the US Fish and Wildlife Service said and just as some super majority of the fisheries scientists in the Pacific Northwest have repeatedly said over and over and over again while the BPA spends billions of your money on programs to treat the minor symptoms of salmon and steelhead extinction while holding the source of the problem harmless. And while the Corps of Engineers sells the public or at least convinces themselves that hundreds of millions of your money should be spent to continue to maintain bad dams that don't control floods, kill millions of fish and will cause flooding of their own without the creation of higher levees and dredging until 2074 or whatever year it was to "ensure" the town of Lewiston doesn't look like the Ninth Ward a few days after Katrina.
The salmon and steelhead aren't going to be saved by some joint effort where we force opposite forces onto the same team supposedly playing for the salvation of wild salmon and steelhead. It will never happen that way. So long as we all live, the BPA is always going to be in love with hydroelectric power, even though wind power in the Pacific Northwest already more than doubles the output of those four lousy dams, and the Corps of Engineers has absolutely no clue what to do with a free flowing natural river, unless they are allowed to dam it up. Therefore any "solution" that an agency committed to getting salmon and steelhead off the Endangered Species List the right way (there are two ways of doing it, allow the BPA and Corps to kill them all off, or give back natural rivers to salmon and steelhead and allow them to recover themselves) would mean that someone loses and the people that need to lose this fight if Snake River salmon are to be around after I am gone are the BPA and the Corps. You can throw in the Bureau of Reclamation in there as well in the losers bracket. Why are a bunch of engineers and electricity marketers controlling the fate of Snake River basin wild salmon and steelhead? Seriously, the Endangered Species Act wasn't enacted so that we could ask a bunch of engineers and power marketers if it would be OK if we save what is left of our wild salmon and steelhead. Why are they even allowed seats at the grown up table and why are some of the grown ups forced to choke down the crap they are passing around the table? And I'm not even talking about all the hush money in this instance (though I always wonder how some can look in the mirror).
It really doesn't matter what cabinet secretary NOAA reports to so long as this silly notion that diametrically opposed missions of federal agencies are placed together on the same team under the false premise that this group will somehow come up with the answer. Someone has to lose, and if you are keeping score at home, salmon, steelhead and indeed all wild fish and wildlife are losing and losing badly. When they finally do lose, you will be the biggest loser of all and I am quite sure the majority of the population has no appreciation of that fact. I am sure many of you reading that either scoffed or if you agreed with that you still have no real clue what our continued onslaught on our natural world will mean for the human race down the road.
And because this seems to be a popular place for the marketing of miracle cures, salmon and steelhead don't need engineering, they need their rivers back. They need their habitat back. Man can make power out of many other things and if man really is serious about saving the wild fish and wildlife that remain, man will turn to those alternative sources of energy today and not waste anymore time. The longer we wait, the less likely we will save the wild salmon and steelhead of the Snake River basin and that is unacceptable.