Klamath Water Salmon Lawsuit FiledBy ANDREW KRAMER
Associated Press Writer
February 5, 2002, 3:41 PM EST
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A law firm that successfully sued to remove Oregon coastal coho salmon from the endangered species list filed a lawsuit Tuesday to remove the same protection for Klamath Basin coho salmon.
The Pacific Legal Foundation filed the federal lawsuit in Eugene and asked for a review by Judge Michael J. Hogan, who ruled in favor of the firm in the coastal coho case.
Coho salmon and sucker fish were at the center of last year's water dispute that pitted Klamath Basin farmers against environmentalists and the Klamath Indian tribe.
Federal agencies cut water to irrigation canals serving about 1,400 farms to preserve water levels in Upper Klamath Lake for the endangered sucker fish and to increase flows into the Klamath River for the threatened coho.
An interim National Academy of Sciences report to be released this week concluded that government scientists did not have enough evidence for the opinions that led authorities to cut off the irrigation water.
"By this lawsuit, we're simply seeking to end the nonsense and restore common sense" to water management in the basin, said Russell Brooks, an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation.
Hogan's decision in the coastal coho case was appealed by environmentalists, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals restored the threatened species status pending appeals.
The ruling prompted the National Marine Fisheries Service to review all its listings of Pacific salmon under the Endangered Species Act.
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