Environmentalists Appeal Rulingby Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Environmentalists said Thursday they will appeal a federal court ruling that allowed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start deepening the shipping channel in the Columbia River to allow larger ships to reach Portland.
A federal judge in Seattle last June rejected arguments raised by Northwest Environmental Advocates' lawsuit that the dredging would worsen already degraded salmon habitat in the Columbia Estuary and worsen beach erosion in Washington and Oregon.
The judge also rejected arguments that approval of the project by NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency that oversees efforts to restore salmon in danger of extinction, was arbitrary and capricious.
The appeal was filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, said Nina Bell, executive director of Northwest Environmental Advocates in Portland.
It will raise the same arguments as the original lawsuit, she said.
There was no attempt to get an emergency court order stopping the dredging, which began June 21.
"We wouldn't get any kind of decision out of the 9th Circuit until early next year, but this is a long-term project and they will not have accomplished all that much before the court rules," Bell said.
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