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Judge: Maybe Dams Should
Be Breached to Save Salmon

by Melvin Baker
All Headline News, May 20, 2009

Portland, OR - A federal judge here has ordered the federal government to consider alternatives to saving endangered salmon populations, including the possibility of breaching dams.

U.S. District Judge James A. Redden, in a letter Monday to parties in a long-running suit, said the government must take "specific "action that will allow salmon to travel up the Snake and Columbia rivers to customary spawning areas. Those actions, he said, could include drawing down reservoirs, increasing water flow, "as well as what it will take to breach the lower Snake River dams if all other measures fail," according to the Los Angeles Times.

The four dams on the Snake River generate electrical power for Seattle, Washington, and Lewiston, Idaho.

In a direct reference to intransigence by former President George W. Bush, Redden wrote: "Federal defendants have spent the better part of the last decade treading water and avoiding their obligations under the Endangered Species Act. Only recently have they begun to commit the kind of financial and political capital necessary to save these threatened and endangered species, some of which are on the brink of extinction. We simply cannot afford to waste another decade."

Redden said "aggressive actions are necessary" to save the fish, according to the Seattle Times.

Related Sites:
Download Judge Redden's letter

Melvin Baker
Judge: Maybe Dams Should Be Breached to Save Salmon
All Headline News, May 20, 2009

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