Washington Board Issues Order Denying Corps’ Challenge To Water Quality Rules (Temperature, Pollutants) At Columbia/Snake Dams

November 11th, 2021

Following up on its intentions announced in June, the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board last week rejected the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers challenge to state water quality rules for temperature and other pollutants for Columbia/Snake River dams and reservoirs. The rules are aimed at protecting salmon and steelhead.

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Climate Change

Lawsuit Calls On NMFS To Take More Direct Action In Ensuring Cold Water Refuges For Salmon, Steelhead; ‘ESA Not A Paper Tiger’

November 4th, 2021

Government paperwork does not help salmon and steelhead migrate through the overheated waters of the Columbia River, asserted an environmental group in a lawsuit filed this week against the federal agency in charge of protecting threatened and endangered salmon. The suit alleges the federal government is failing to ensure cold-water refuges “where fish can seek relief from dangerously high river temperatures in the Columbia.”

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Litigation

Federal Judge Approves Pause In Salmon/Steelhead EIS/BiOp Case; Parties ‘In Good Faith Discussions To Resolve Litigation’

October 27th, 2021

In a swift response to a motion filed last week by most parties currently embroiled in a case that challenges the new federal environmental impact statement and biological opinion for Columbia/Snake river salmon and steelhead,U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon approved Tuesday a stay on all litigation activities until July 31, 2022.

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Parties Put Salmon/Steelhead BiOp Litigation On Hold, Commit To Working Together To Find ‘Comprehensive, Long-Term Solution’

October 22nd, 2021

Plaintiffs in the challenge to the Columbia/Snake River biological opinion for salmon and steelhead filed this week an unopposed stay in federal court that effectively puts the litigation on hold while all the parties search for comprehensive salmon recovery solutions.

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Federal Judge Says NOAA Violated ESA When Approving Alaska Salmon Fishery; No Certainty New Hatcheries Will Mitigate Harvest

October 21st, 2021

A lawsuit filed last year that challenged NOAA’s Fisheries’ authorization of the Southeast Alaska commercial troll fishery was partly resolved earlier this month in a Seattle federal court when the judge found the federal agency in violation of the Endangered Species Act. A final judgement could be ready later this month.

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Wild Fish Advocates File Lawsuit Challenging Washington Hatchery Reform Policy Changes, Increased Hatchery Salmon For Orcas

October 14th, 2021

Conservation groups this week filed in King County Superior Court a challenge to Washington’s changes to its hatchery reform policy and efforts to increase hatchery production of chinook and coho salmon at Puget Sound and Columbia River hatcheries to increase the food supply for Southern resident killer whales, listed as endangered in 2005.

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Judge Lays Out Schedule For Hearing On Preliminary Injunction Requesting More Spill For Fish, Lower Reservoirs At Columbia/Snake Dams

September 23rd, 2021

A request for a preliminary injunction to increase spill next year at lower Columbia and Snake river dams, as well as to lower operating pools behind the dams to aid migrating juvenile and adult salmon and steelhead, took one more step forward in federal court.

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Litigation

EPA Rescinds Trump Administration’s Guidance On Clean Water Act Permits For Pollution Discharges Through Groundwater

September 23rd, 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is rescinding a guidance document entitled “Applying the Supreme Court’s County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund Decision in the Clean Water Act Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program” that was issued by the Trump administration in January, 2021. With this action, EPA says it is preserving longstanding clean water protections.

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