Lawsuit: Oregon waters too hot for fish

Lawsuit challenges Oregon’s water clean-up plans
By Natural Resource News Note

The Northwest Environmental Advocates filed a complaint in federal court challenging Oregon’s Clean Water Act clean-up plans.

The NWEA believes that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s plans allow water temperatures that are too high for cold-water fish and other wildlife, resulting in widespread temperature pollution. According to the NWEA, standards approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency allow temperatures up to 64 degrees F, but Oregon’s clean-up plans allow temperatures as high as 90 degrees F.

“Ironically, the clean-up plans have had the effect of setting temperature goals for Oregon’s waters that are far above the temperatures all the federal agencies agree are acceptable for cold-water fish such as salmon and steelhead,” Nina Bell, NWEA executive director, told the Columbia Basin Bulletin.
“Oregon has twisted what should have been its effort to restore the cold waters needed by fish and frogs into a process that has attempted to sanctify temperatures that would never have passed federal agency approval,” said Bell.

Oregon maintains that the higher temperatures most closely approximate what the natural temperatures of the waters would have been before human development.

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