BPA plan for salmon approved

By The Associated Press
Seattle Times


PORTLAND The Army Corps of Engineers yesterday approved a hydroelectric-dam summer-spill plan proposed by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and criticized by Indian tribes, fishermen and environmental groups.
Brig. Gen. William Grisoli, regional commander for the Corps, signed the so-called "statement of decision" that will allow Bonneville to proceed with its recommended plan for spilling water over four dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers to aid salmon migration downstream to the ocean.

Grisoli noted that the plan meets the requirements of the Northwest Power Act and had been endorsed by the governors of Idaho, Montana and Washington. Bonneville officials said they did not know why Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski had not endorsed the plan, and the governor's spokeswoman was not immediately available.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries decided last week the proposed spill plan meets the needs of fish listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Bonneville officials estimate the plan will save Northwest ratepayers up to $28 million this year by balancing power-generation and salmon-conservation needs.

But environmental groups renewed their opposition to the plan.

"This short-sighted decision will likely kill thousands of salmon and steelhead and will further undermine the Bush administration's salmon plan, which has already been found inadequate by a federal court and has not been fully funded or implemented," said Rob Masonis, Northwest regional director of American Rivers.



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