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Latest CBB News > Chapter V

EXCERPT: Chapter V

Salmon and Hydro: An Account of Litigation over Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinions for Salmon and Steelhead, 1991-2009

V. 2004-2008: A New BiOp Says No Jeopardy From Hydro Operations; A New ‘Environmental Baseline’; Redden Says No Again; Discretionary Actions vs. Non-Discretionary (Dams’ Existence); Court Runs The River; Upper Snake River Gets Own BiOp

 . . On June 10, 2005, Redden granted an injunction, ordering dam operators to spill water for fish at three lower Snake and one Columbia River projects during summer months. The judge, however, denied the flow/drawdown request.

In his order, Redden reasoned that too much uncertainty remained about the potential benefits of increasing river water velocity, which would decrease the in-river migration time. He urged interested federal, state, tribal and other parties to immediately "engage in collaboration to resolve the issues raised by flow."

Ordering that more flows be extracted from storage reservoirs "would put this court into micromanagement, big-time," Redden said.

Federal defendants, Idaho and the BPA Customer Group immediately requested in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals a stay of the lower court ruling. Oral arguments on the merits of the appeal were heard July 13 in Seattle.

Federal attorneys argued that Redden, in issuing the injunction, abused his power and did not properly defer to agencies' expertise or consider the record of evidence.

They said the injunction should be removed because it was based on Redden's flawed legal assessment that NOAA Fisheries’ jeopardy analysis was invalid. . . .

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INTRODUCTION

I. 1991-1995: Three ESA Listings, Four Biological Opinions, Five Court Challenges

II. 1995-1998: Reasonable And Prudent Alternatives, Spread The Risk, Long-Term Configuration, Adaptive Management; River Governance; Regional Parties Stake Their Positions; A BiOp Finally Passes Legal Muster

III. 1998-1999: More ESA Listings; A Supplemental Steelhead BiOp Guiding River Operations; Independent Science Advisory Board Weighs In On Smolt Transportation; Appeals Court Upholds 1995 BiOp; Supplemental BiOps On New Listings, Snake Water

IV. 1999-2004: Not Just Hydro, But All The ‘Hs’; Recovery In 48 years?; Mitigation Must Be Certain To Occur; Another BiOp Bites The Dust; A Remand; Corps Rules On Snake River Dam Removal

V. 2004-2008: A New BiOp Says No Jeopardy From Hydro Operations; A New ‘Environmental Baseline’; Redden Says No Again; Discretionary Actions vs. Non-Discretionary (Dams’ Existence); Court Runs The River; Upper Snake River Gets Own BiOp

VI. 2008-2009: A ‘Collaborative’ BiOp; New Fish Funding Agreements, New BiOp Support; Montana Finally Likes The Reservoir Plan; Earthjustice Says New Approach Inadequate; Oregon Left As Only State Opposed To BiOp; Should Independent Scientists Evaluate BiOp?; Parties To Litigation Grows; Clean Water Act Now An Issue; A New Round Of Briefings

VII. Conclusion: Rushing To Redden’s Finish Line

 


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