Michael Steele Was for Fish Passage Barrier Removal Before He Was Against It


Brendan Nyhan has more on the brain-dead appeals to ignorance at the heart of Michael Steele’s strident opposition to the inclusion in the stimulus of a small quantity of funds aimed at removing fish passage barriers from the nation’s streams.

For example, Nyhan reveals that back when Steele was Lieutenant Governor of Maryland serving under Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich, the Steele-Ehrlich administration touted removal of fish passage barriers as an important policy priority. They explained that “migration barriers are anything in the stream that significantly interferes with the upstream movement of fish” and “unimpeded fish passage is especially important for anadromous fish which live much of their lives in tidal waters but must move into non-tidal rivers and streams to spawn.” They warn that fish passage barriers, if unaddressed, create a situation in which “the diversity of the fish community in an area will be reduced and the remaining biological community may be out of natural balance.” They even set up a hotline you could call to report a fish passage barrier so that the state could remove it.

Long story short, the economy requires fiscal stimulus. That requires us to identify projects on which to spend money that are (a) short-term in nature, and (b) useful. Barriers to fish migration are a bona fide environmental problem. Removing them is useful. And since removing them is a series of short-term endeavors, it works as stimulus.