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Environmental groups want work halted on dams

BOISE, Idaho - Environmental groups are asking a federal court to halt 11 infrastructure projects on four lower Snake River dams in Washington state that could ultimately be removed if a pending review determines the dams need to come out to help salmon. The 45-page notice filed late Monday in Portland estimates the cost of the projects at $110 million. The National Wildlife Federation and the other groups in a separate, 29-page filing also late Monday asked that the federal government be ordered to spill more water in the spring over the four Snake River dams and four more on the Columbia River to help migrating salmon.

 

A federal judge ruled in May that the U.S. government hasn't done enough to improve Northwest salmon runs and ordered an environmental impact statement that's due out in 2021, urging officials to consider removing the dams. The environmental groups contend that infrastructure improvements shouldn't be allowed at the dams during the review. "These kinds of investments should be suspended to ensure a level playing field for all of the alternatives agencies must consider, including the alternative of lower Snake River dam removal," Kevin Lewis of Idaho Rivers United said in a statement.