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Judge Focuses Hearing on Future Safeguards for Salmon

by Rob Manning
The Oregonian, May 9, 2011

It's now only a matter of time before the Northwest gets a decision on how the federal government should run dams on the Columbia River without killing off threatened salmon. Rob Manning reports on a court hearing Monday morning.

The federal government has spent years defending its plan for the river -- called a "biological opinion."

In what's expected to be Portland Judge James Redden's last hearing in the case, he focused on future safeguards in the event fish continue to struggle.

Todd True represents the environmental plaintiffs. He's skeptical of the feds' promise to check in with the court in a few years.

Todd True: "I think we're going to get a bunch of mushy information without any standards and that the government is going to get to call the play however it wants to call it. That's not -- the law has standards and we need to meet those standards."

Government attorneys argue that the biological opinion goes well beyond the minimum standards of the Endangered Species Act.

Steve Wright heads the dam operating agency, the Bonneville Power Administration.

Steve Wright: "We are all anxious to move forward and implement the biological opinion - to get the work done."

A final decision could mean an end to close to ten years of litigation.

Related Pages:
Breaching the Dams? by Peter DeFazio, Eugene Weekly, 5/3/11
DeFazio's Role in the Columbia Basin Salmon Crisis by Sheena Moore, Eugene Weekly, 4/21/11
Saving Salmon: Time to Get Out of the Courtroom and Into the River by Doc Hastings & DeFazio, The Oregonian, 3/11/11

Rob Manning
Judge Focuses Hearing on Future Safeguards for Salmon
The Oregonian, May 9, 2011

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