Northwest Salmon Advocates
by Matthew Preusch
Tomorrow is the deadline for the State of Oregon to file in federal court its response to the Obama administration's plan for the Columbia Basin's salmon and hydroelectric dams.
In the meantime, salmon advocates, who are the state's allies in a lawsuit challenging the plan, are in the nation's capital urging members of Congress to support a bill that calls for studying the removal of four federal dams on the Snake River.
The Obama plan contemplates removing the four lower Snake River dams only as a last resort if the federally-protected fish decline further.
"Yeah, we're disappointed, but we have hope and that's why we're here. There is strong support in the region for a bold solution to this crisis and we don't have the time for more political side-stepping," said Jeff Hickman, a Portland fishing guide and Regional Conservation Organizer for the Sierra Club.
You can track the lobbying efforts of Hickman and others via Save Our Wild Salmon's D.C. tweet-storm.
After Oregon files its response to the Columbia Basin plan with U.S. District Court Judge James Redden in Portland, the administration will then have an opportunity to file a rebuttal.
Following that exchange, Redden could rule on the plan. The judge has rejected two previous plans from earlier administrations.
The current plan, which lays out the steps the government will take to keep from pushing salmon closer to extinction while operating federal power-producing dams, is estimated to cost around $10 billion.
A coalition of upriver ports, industrial power users and others have praised it as a way to end the legal battle over dams and salmon, which goes back over a decade.
"This plan - while expensive - holds the most promise for the region to move forward collectively to do things that actually benefit fish," said Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest RiverPartners.
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