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Saving Salmon

OPB | Sept. 16, 2009 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9 p.m.

The Obama administration has released its long-anticipated plan to save salmon in the Columbia River Basin. Federal Judge James Redden rejected an earlier version of the plan, called a biological opinion, submitted by the Bush administration last year. Some environmental groups like Save Our Wild Salmon hoped the Obama administration would make a sharp departure from the Bush administration, as it has in other natural resource issues. But the environmental group says Obama’s salmon plan is “flawed” and calls its differences from the Bush plan “minor” and “cosmetic.” The group favors breaching Snake River dams among other actions to ensure salmon recovery [pdf].

Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency that submitted the plan, told reporters in a conference call this morning that she is satisfied that this new biological opinion addresses Judge Redden’s concerns and does protect salmon. She said [pdf] that the plan is both “biologically and legally sound” and based on the “best available scientific information.” The plan puts dam breaching on the table, but only if other measures do not work.

Are you concered about the survival of Columbia River salmon? Do you fish for or eat wild salmon? Are you willing to pay more for hydropower to compensate for fish saving measures? Do you think the Obama adminstration’s plan will protect salmon?

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