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Commentaries and editorials

Oregon says Plan for Dams
Lacks Salmon Protection

by Associated Press
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 22, 2008

SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon filed a supplemental complaint Tuesday against the latest federal proposal for operating Columbia and Snake river dams, seeking withdrawal of a plan submitted in May by Columbia River tribes and the Bonneville Power Administration.

The state says the plan lacks needed protections for salmon and steelhead.

U.S. District Judge James Redden rejected two previous proposals in 2002 and 2004 but is yet to rule on the latest one. Oregon also filed complaints over the previous proposals.

"The federal government may be satisfied with the number of wild salmon and steelhead in our rivers. I am not," Gov. Ted Kulongoski said.

He said the latest plan lacks adequate protections for the survival and recovery of salmon and steelhead runs as required under the Endangered Species Act.

BPA spokesman Steve Wright defended the plan, saying it is "all about what will provide better fish survival and recovery, not just more flow and spill."

"Our plan appropriately addresses the array of environmental issues our region is confronting, including greenhouse gas emissions, as it considered the mix of hydro and nonhydro measures necessary for salmon restoration," said the BPA spokesman.

Oregon is thus far the only state to file a complaint over the latest proposal, said Jillian Schoene, a Kulongoski spokeswoman.

The complaint contends the plan is loyal to status quo hydro power operations and to increasing production at the expense of the survival and recovery of endangered fish runs.

The complaint contends the plan lowers the standard for evaluating whether dams jeopardize protected runs and does so without adequate scientific basis.

It also claims the plan diverts attention from dam operations to hatcheries and tributary habitat improvements, and that it touts major change but is basically the same as those rejected.

Associated Press
Oregon says Plan for Dams Lacks Salmon Protection
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 22, 2008

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