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Judge: Plan for restoring Northwest salmon runs not enough

CORRUPTION, Courts, Dams other than Klamath, Salmon and fish
 

PNP comment: Looks like the destruction of 4 Klamath dams are not the only dams the Greenies want to destroy. In the Klamath situation, demolishing the 4 hydro-electric dams will only cause huge environmental devastation with 100s of tons of toxic sediment washing down river contaminating the river bed, the water ruining salmon runs for years. — Editor Liz Bowen

GENE JOHNSON

Associated Press

May 4, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) — A massive habitat restoration effort by the U.S. government doesn’t do nearly enough to improve Northwest salmon runs, a federal judge ruled Thursday, handing a major victory to conservationists, anglers and others who hope to someday see four dams on the Snake River breached to make way for the fish.

In a long-running lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon in Portland, Oregon, rejected the federal government’s latest plan for offsetting the damage that dams in the Columbia River Basin pose to salmon, saying it violates the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

It was the fifth time since 2001 that the court has invalidated the government’s plans, and rulings in the case show increasing impatience with federal agencies, including NOAA Fisheries, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. In his 149-page opinion, Simon found that for the past 20 years, the agencies have focused on trying to revive the basin’s 13 endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead runs by restoring habitat without compromising the generation of electricity.

“These efforts have already cost billions of dollars, yet they are failing,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, he said, federal agencies have “done their utmost” to avoid even considering breaching the Snake River dams — despite strong suggestions to do so by Judge James Redden, who oversaw the case from 2001 to 2011.

Among those who sued the government are the Nez Perce Tribe and the state of Oregon; conservation groups including the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, American Rivers and Columbia Riverkeeper; and fishing organizations including the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.

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