For a second time the Obama Administration has asked for more time to review the 2008 Salmon plan prepared by the Bush Administration covering the Columbia and Snake rivers. Recently, the government asked for and U.S. District Court Judge, James Redden granted an additional 30 days to finalize its position on the plan. The plan is an attempt to balance the needs of people and salmon in the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Environmentalists argue that salmon populations cannot recover without removing some of the dams on the lower Snake River.
A number of environmental groups are concerned that in asking for the delay the Obama administration may end up supporting the Bush Plan. In papers filed in federal court recently, the state, environmental groups and the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho complain they’ve been ignored in the administration’s deliberations over how to run the region’s network of big, power-generating dams without causing further harm to the salmon.
Federal courts have struck down three previous plans, called biological opinions, and the Portland judge handling the lawsuit over the current one has expressed serious concerns about its legality. The entities that once welcomed the Obama administration’s entrance into the salmon debate are now questioning the course the administration is taking to address the issue.
The deadline for the government to respond is September 15th. Nicole Cordan of the Save Our Wild Salmon coalition said in a press release, “Unfortunately, nothing that we’ve heard or seen to date indicates that we’re likely to see anything more than the same general Bush administration salmon plan 30 days from now. Adopting the standards and analysis in the Bush plan while adding a few additional bows to the box, doesn’t change the contents of the box — it’s still an illegal and scientifically corrupt plan, not the result of a thoughtful review by an administration that has repeatedly stated the importance of scientific integrity.”
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