Orca Task Force at Swinomish

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Orca Task Force at Swinomish
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Image by Backbone Campaign
August 28, 2018

Great welcoming action to bolster today’s Orca Task for meeting at the Swinimosh Nation near Anacortes! Two giant banners, our giant salmon and orca inflatables and orca clad activists from across the region greeted attendees.

Mumblings after the meeting are that the public is speaking eloquently, but the leaders aren’t saying much that impresses. By design, 40 stakeholder groups will never acheive consensus and their non-binding recommendations have the potential to merely camoflage a lack of actual leadership by the people with the power – but not necessarily the inclination toward making tough, decisive choices. Most important amongst such leaders is Governor Jay Inslee.

Gov. Inslee spoke these prophetic words, "As go the Orca, so go We."
It sems that in his heart he knows it is time for bold action. It is time that he get comfortable with the idea that that leadership must start with him.

The obvious, most impactful decision he can make is to remove the Lower Snake River dams. They don’t pencil out. The power is more replacable than ever despite BPA protestations. The barge transport can be replaced with rail through the purchase and restoration of service on the Camas Prairie Railroad. Irrigation and other issues are solvable. What is truly irreplacable are the orca and the chinook salmon they depend upon.

The Orca task force is not a solution, but it is a gift, in that it provides the public and advocacy organizations an organizing opportunity to build upon the clarion call to action made by orca mother Tahlequah and her pod.

Tahlequah did her part. It is time that we do ours. "When the People Lead, the Leaders Follow." So, let’s keep escalating our calls for bold and urgent action, so that Governor Inslee and other leaders understand that successful implementation of dam removal is an existential requirement for them to remain politically relevant – now – and to future generations.

Forward Together!

Bill Moyer
reporting back from Swinomish Land