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Salmon Litigants Promise Responses to Obama Plan

The Portland judge overseeing a major case involving threatened salmon is fishing for objections to the Obama Administration's latest plan. Rob Manning has more.

Judge James Redden says he’s finished reviewing the Obama Administration plan for the 13 threatened stocks of salmon and steelhead that navigate the Columbia and Snake River dams.

Now, Judge Redden has asked for responses from all three plaintiffs - the state of Oregon, the Nez Perce tribe, and a coalition of environmental and fishing groups. All three say they plan to respond by Redden’s fast turnaround deadline of October 2nd.

The Obama revision focused on a number of contingencies – in the event that salmon numbers fall. It also promises better monitoring and modeling, so that federal agencies could better focus habitat and other projects.

The plan would evaluate hydro operations on a seasonal basis, and includes a “last-resort contingency” to study removal of the lower Snake River dams.

The Oregon governor’s office and environmental groups immediately voiced objections to the Obama plan last week. They said it relies on a weak legal standard, and it doesn’t make big enough changes to how dams are run.