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Myers Sues Feds Over Oregon Dams

by Chris Rizo
Legal Newsline, July 22, 2008

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers on Tuesday filed a supplemental complaint against the federal government over how it operates dams along the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

Oregon officials, including Myers and Gov. Ted Kulongoski, want the federal government to withdraw its salmon recovery plan for the Columbia River Basin.

"The State of Oregon has a long legacy of protecting our wild fish for future generations so they remain a vital part of our heritage, and this is a legacy worth fighting for," Kulongoski said. "The Federal government may be satisfied with the number of wild salmon and steelhead in our rivers. I am not."

Kulongoski says the salmon recovery plan fails to "provide adequate protections for the survival and recovery" of salmon and steelhead runs as required under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The Democratic governor said in a statement that among the plan's flaws is that it substantially lowers the standard for evaluating whether hydro power operations jeopardize the survival and recovery of protected species, such as the salmon.

"Flaws in the plan are so severe that it concludes half of the 13 fish populations currently under ESA protections are not jeopardized by current power system operations and that most populations do not require any improvements in their present status to avoid jeopardy," the governor's statement said.

The governor said while he supports efforts to secure funding for hatcheries, habitat and tribal infrastructure, he said he objects to parts of the plan that "lack of improvement and accountability in the hydro power system.

"What I am looking for is a plan that restores wild fish populations to viable and sustainable levels," Kulongoski said.

Chris Rizo
Myers Sues Feds Over Oregon Dams
Legal Newsline, July 22, 2008

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