Responses to Obama salmon plan sought by judge

Critics of President Obama’s plan to restore salmon populations and manage power-producing dams in the Northwest have been asked by a federal judge to file responses by Oct. 2.

U.S. District Judge James Redden set the deadline in a letter to plaintiffs who are suing the federal government over a salmon restoration plan implemented by the Bush administration. The State of Oregon, the Nez Perce Tribe and salmon advocates claim salmon populations won’t recover without removing four dams on the lower Snake River.

The new plan was submitted in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore. (HydroWorld 9/15/09) Under the new Obama plan, dam removal is described as an “action of last resort.”

However, the plan does direct the U.S. Corps of Engineers to begin studying the removal of the Snake River dams. Those dams are the 635-MW Ice Harbor, 810-MW Little Goose, 810-MW Lower Granite, and 810-MW Lower Monumental projects.

Environmental groups say the new plan is similar to the controversial plan adopted by the Bush administration and does little to help restore salmon populations. Others contend it could lead to extreme measures such as dam removal.

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