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Groups Appeal Decision on Columbia River Hydropower Salmon Opinions

October 4, 2011

On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the National Marine Fisheries Service filed an appeal of Judge Redden’s August 2011 decision on the latest salmon biological opinion for the Columbia River hydropower system. The Northwest River Partners, an organization whose members include farmers, electric utility customers, ports and small businesses, also filed an appeal. They were an intervenor in the case.

In August, Judge Redden sent the biological opinion back to National Marine Fisheries Service for further work. He wanted the agency to be more specific about the mitigation actions it would implement between 2014 and 2018. These actions are intended to off-set the impacts to salmon from the hydropower system. Millions of dollars have been, and will continue to be, spent on these projects.

The appeals will likely focus on the question of whether commitments to fund mitigation projects as opposed to having projects in place is sufficient under the Endangered Species Act. Because of the Ninth Circuit’s docket, the appeal is not likely to be heard for at least another year.


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