Groups to Ask Judge to Stop
by Associated Press
PORTLAND -- Conservationists, fishing groups and Indian tribes are asking a federal judge to stop the Bonneville Power Administration's plan to reduce the amount of water spilled over Columbia and Snake river hydroelectric dams to help young salmon migrate to the ocean.
Lawyers for Earthjustice filed a motion Friday in U.S. District Court asking that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the dams, be added as a defendant in a long-running lawsuit over dam operations, said Todd True, an attorney for Earthjustice, an environmental public interest law firm representing the groups.
Next week, they will file another motion seeking an injunction stopping the corps from implementing plans to reduce spill, and Judge James Redden has scheduled a hearing for July 28 to consider the issue, True added.
Corps of Engineers spokesman Matt Rabe said they have not seen the motions, but have been expecting them.
The Bonneville Power Administration, which sells power produced by the dams, has gained approval from the corps and NOAA Fisheries, which oversees protection of salmon under the Endangered Species Act, for a plan to reduce the amount of water spilled for salmon in order to save $28 million.
Spilling water over the dams helps young salmon migrating to the ocean avoid going through the turbines, where they can be killed, injured or disoriented, becoming easy prey for predators.
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