Dam Breaching is Back on the Table in Fish Debateby Associated Press
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - May 9, 2003
SPOKANE -- A judge's decision to send a regional fish-saving plan back for more discussion is sure to reopen the divisive debate over breaching four lower Snake River dams.
In a move hailed by Northwest conservation and fishing groups, U.S. District Judge James Redden on Wednesday ruled that a regional plan for saving fish in the Columbia Basin violates the federal Endangered Species Act.
The plan -- called a biological opinion -- calls for major improvements in habitat, hatcheries and harvest limits without the option of breaching the dams. Redden said those efforts are inadequate.
While the ruling does not specifically call for breaching, conservationists said it is again on the table in discussions on bringing fish stocks back from the brink of extinction.
"We are not so rich that we can afford to lose our wild salmon or so poor that we must keep the Snake River dams that are killing them," Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said.
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