Monday, November 16, 2009

Redden May Throw out Obama BiOp

Judge James Redden of Oregon threw out the Bush Administration's 2008 Biological Opinion on the Columbia River system, saying that it failed to ensure recovery and therefore violated the ESA. Now it appears he is likely to toss the latest, highly contentious iteration of the BiOp brought forward by the Obama administration because the plan was written unilaterally and did not include the parties currently contesting the validity of the plan in federal court. The newest version of the BiOp failed to include provisions for dam removal in the near future and would only consider it in 10 years if Snake River salmon and steelhead had experienced dramatic declines. Fish advocates argue that by that time it will, in all likelihood be too late. Furthermore the latest plan actually had less fish friendly flow management than had been in place for the last few years. Hopefully Reddens decision will be a wakeup call to the administration that token measures will not bring back Snake River Salmon. If we fail to take substantial action on the Snake now it may be one of the biggest lost opportunities of our era. We'll keep a close eye on this over the coming weeks. More info in the Oregonian.

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