PORTLAND, Ore. (KIFI)-A coalition of fishing and conservation groups, including Idaho Rivers United and the Idaho Conservation League, have filed suit to challenge the latest federal plan for hydropower operations on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. It is the eighth version of a long legal fight to restore endangered salmon and steelhead.
Earthjustice, which filed the suit, said the plan was pushed through in a rush by the Trump Administration. They claim it greenlights essentially the same operations the courts have consistently rejected for more than two decades.
“The State of Idaho, our river communities, and our fish are all failed by this plan,” said Idaho Rivers United Executive Director Nic Nelson. “Not only does this FEIS fail to meet the judicial mandate to recover salmon, it undermines all of the great work being done regionally to provide real solutions to the rapid extirpation of Snake River salmon and steelhead. Challenging this plan is paramount to achieving the collaborative goals of abundant, wild fish populations, a regional clean-energy portfolio, and duality of economies for the fishing and ag communities of our State.”
The lawsuit will challenge rollbacks of Endangered Species Act regulations that were relied upon to create weakened regulations the administration used to support its dam operations plans.
In this case, Earthjustice represents American Rivers, Idaho Rivers United, Institute for Fisheries Resources, NW Energy Coalition, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Columbia Riverkeeper, and Idaho Conservation League.
“I want to make this clear,” said Earthjustice attorney Todd True, “We would rather not be going to court today but the outgoing administration has given us no choice. We’d rather be working together -- with tribes, scientists, fishing businesses, farmers, freight industry, and our elected leaders in Congress -- to develop a comprehensive solution that includes restoring a free-flowing lower Snake River. But the Trump administration ignored the science and the voices of hundreds of thousands in the Pacific Northwestrubber-stamping a plan that yet again fails to take the actions necessary to protect salmon and steelhead. We have no choice but to challenge this failure of a plan.”