Judge says Amendment to Federal
Judge James Redden of Portland handed the Obama administration a setback Wednesday, saying its amendment to the Bush administration's salmon and dams management plan can't be considered in a long-running lawsuit over dam operations and salmon recovery.
Redden sent a letter to parties of the lawsuit saying the federal government must either pull back its amendment known as the Adaptive Management Implementation Plan and fully analyze it or simply allow the plan known as the 2008 biological opinion to stand on its own.
Redden has twice shot down the government's plan to reconcile dam operations and salmon survival. The Bush administration wrote a third plan in 2008 that was challenged by environmental groups, the state of Oregon and the Nez Perce Tribe. Shortly before that case was to go to trial early last year the incoming Obama administration asked for time to review the plan. During the review Obama's team added the adaptive management plan that called for extra measures to be implemented should salmon and steelhead populations plummet. Included in those measures was a call for breaching the four lower Snake River dams to be studied.
Redden said if the government chooses to pull back the plan for further analysis, it should do a thorough job and include new information such as the effects climate change may have on salmon and steelhead populations.
"This court will not dictate the scope or substance of Federal Defendants' remand, but Federal Defendants must comply with the ESA in preparing any amended/supplemental biological opinion," he wrote.
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