Ruling Preserves Nez Perce Pactby Patricia R. McCoy
Capital Press, July 28, 2006
Idaho's Upper Snake River reservoirs won't be lumped with those downstream in the ongoing drive to save salmon, under a court ruling being hailed as a victory by Idaho's water users.
The court ruling preserves the historic Nez Perce Water Agreement signed in 2004 between the federal government, the state of Idaho and the tribe, said the Coalition for Idaho Water.
Issued July 14 by U.S. District Judge James Redden, Portland, the ruling is also a decisive victory in the battle to protect Idaho sovereignty over its water, said Norm Semanko, coalition spokesman.
Specifically, the ruling said environmentalists failed to present any reason why the court should reconsider its May 23 order that recognized the Bureau of Reclamation projects in the Upper Snake River system are separate from those on the Lower Snake and Columbia rivers.
"This ruling makes it crystal clear that Judge Redden recognizes the Upper Snake projects are used primarily for irrigation and other uses in Idaho, and are not part of the downstream hydropower system. This is a major blow for the environmentalists, because so much of their breach-the-dams strategy is to link the upper and lower river systems together," Semanko said.
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