Redden Rejects Plaintiffs
by Wheat Review
Wheat Life, October 2008
Plaintiffs, National Wildlife Federation and the state of Oregon, received a rejection notice from Judge James Redden of the U.S. Federal District Court in late August. The plaintiffs have argued the most recent biological opinion was similar to other BiOp's the judge had rejected and was in need (of) an independent scientific review. The BiOp contains a set of strategies and actions to protect Columbia River Basin salmon. The U.S. Department of Justice reviewed with the Judge the extensive regional collaboration on the BiOp, with over 200 meetings over a 2-year process.
Plaintiffs file motions to expand the BiOp lawsuit
National Wildlife Foundation and its fellow plaintiffs have been litigating against NOAA Fisheries, alleging the 2008 BiOp violates the Endangered Species Act. Now, they have petitioned Judge Redden to expand their complaints to include violations of the Clean Water Act and to add the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation as defendants, according to the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association (PNWA).
The claim is that the Corps knew or should have known that the 2008 BiOp was invalid and, thus, are operating the main stem dams illegally. They also claim that the issuance of Incidental Take Permits to the Corps and Bureau by NOAA Fisheries is a federal act that triggers the requirement for water quality certifications by all four states. Plaintiffs claim the Corps and Bureau are operating all of the federal dams on Columbia and Snake rivers illegally.
If Judge Redden rules in favor of the plaintiffs, the scope of the cour case will expand dramatically and operations of all federal dams in the basin will be challenged.
PNWA manages the legal effort of the Inland Ports and Navigation Group (IPNG), which will continue to be active in this case. IPNG is currently reviewing the petition.
IWUB comes to Washington
The Inland Waterways Users Board (IWUB) recently came to the Northwest (Walla Walla) for a meeting and toured Lower Monumental Dam to see first-hand the repairs needed at the facility, which includes a new downstream lock gate. The Pacific Northwest Waterways Association discussed the multi-purpose Snake/Columbia River system with focused attention on inland navigation funding needs, along with an opportunity to meet with various industry representatives. WGA staff member Glen Squires participated during the dam tour to provide wheat industry perspective to the IWUB. The IWUB provides input regarding projects that should receive congressional funding.
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