The Ninth Ciruit Appeals Court slapped down Idaho's Senator Larry Craig's underhanded attempt to eliminate federal funding from the Fish Passage Center.
The Fish Passage Center is a creation of the federal government and is primarily funded by the hydroelectric dam operators on the Snake and Columbia Rivers of the Northwest. The FPC angered Craig by doing what it was created to do--count fish.
The FPC counts salmon migrating up and down the rivers and has collected data showing the decline of many salmon species. These data, in turn, showed the disastrous effect the dams were having on the fish and the ecosystem.
In 2005, Craig inserted language into the committee report for an spending bill , specifically forbidding the dam operators (Bonneville Power Adminstration) from funding the Fish Passage Center--a kind of reverse-earmark. But a committee report is not legislation, it is simply a letter that accompanies the Appropriations bill. And, thus the courts ruled that Craig's nasty-gram does not carry the rules of law, and that BPA needs to continue funding the FPC.
The Seattle P-I carried this AP summary of the story. You can also read the opinion here.
Do I even need to mention that the hydroelectric operators are major contributors to Craig's election campaigns?