Friday, May 6, 2011

Oral Arguments for Salmon Restoration on Monday, May 9th

Oral arguments will begin on Monday, May 9th at 9:30 AM in Portland, Oregon in a landmark case to be ruled on later this year by U.S. District Court Judge James Redden (National Wildlife Federation et al v. National Marine Fisheries Service et al). The case reviews the Obama administration’s 2010 federal salmon plan that sets policy on how to operate the federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

The plan, also known as a Biological Opinion (BiOp), attempts to address the significant harm the federal dams cause to salmon and steelhead protected by the Endangered Species Act. The actions called for by the plan are almost indistinguishable from previous plans that were rejected by the courts, which were rejected by the courts. The plan currently under scrutiny also rolls back important protections now in place and will cost almost $1 billion per year over the next 10 years.

The salmon community has five basic concerns associated with the BiOp: the plan rolls back current salmon protections, sidesteps climate change impacts, ignores the best available salmon science, uses a faulty legal standard and analytical framework, and offers less protection for more money.

Stay tuned for our post-hearing update.

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