Opponents of Columbia River Dredge Plan
by Associated Press
Opponents of a plan to deepen a 103-mile stretch of the Columbia River filed a lawsuit Tuesday, challenging the federal governmentís approval of the $136 million project.
Earthjustice, a public-interest law firm representing Northwest Environmental Advocates, argued that dredging 3 feet from the riverís 600-foot-wide shipping channel from the Pacific Ocean to Portland would devastate salmon habitat and worsen erosion of Washington and Oregon beaches.
ďThis project is wrong for salmon and other species, itís wrong for Washington and Oregon, and itís wrong for the American taxpayers,Ē said Nina Bell, executive director of Northwest Environmental Advocates.
Brian Gorman, spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationís Fisheries office in Seattle, said the agency had not reviewed the lawsuit yet and he could not comment on it. But he noted that when NOAA Fisheries approved the plan in May 2002, it stated that restoring salmon habitat is a priority.
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