indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Falmouth Institute Online Training
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Court rejects Bush salmon plan on Columbia River
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Filed Under: Environment | Law

A federal appeals court rebuked the Bush administration on Monday for failing to consult tribes with treaty rights in the Pacific Northwest.

The Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, the Umatilla Tribes of Oregon, the Warm Springs Tribes of Oregon and Yakama Nation of Washington signed treaties in 1855 to preserve their fishing rights on the Columbia and Snake rivers. But they say four hydroelectric dams have harmed the salmon that is so important to their way of live.

In hopes of preserving the fish and their cultures, the tribes have sought removal of the dams. Their campaign was dealt a blow in December 2004, when the Bush administration issues a biological opinion that rejected breaching as a means of protecting endangered and threatened salmon runs.

In May 2005, a federal judge threw out the biological opinion, saying it was based on flawed science, and ordered the administration to consult with the treaty tribes. Government attorneys appealed the decision and said the consultation directive was out of bounds.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, rejected those arguments. In a unanimous decision, the court said the biological opinion "amounted to little more than an analytical slight of hand" and violated the Endangered Species Act.

The court further agreed that the consultation requirement was reasonable, given the history of the case. At one point, near the end of the Clinton administration, the federal agencies in charge of the dams said breaching was an option.

But when President Bush took over in January 2001, the landscape changed and dam removal was taken off the table. "We hold that on this record, requiring consultation with states and tribes constitutes a permissible procedural restriction rather than an impermissible substantive restraint,' Judge Sidney R. Thomas wrote for the majority.

The decision doesn't mean the government must remove the dams but advocates said there is no other choice in order to save the salmon. "Our region needs a scientifically sound, economically viable solution, and that solution includes removing the four dams on the lower Snake River," said Steve Mashuda, an attorney with Earthjustice, one of the many groups involved in the case.

The four Columbia River treaty tribes participated in the case through friend of the court brief. In February of this year, the tribes reached an agreement with the government to cover operations for 2007.

A fifth tribe, the Kootenai of Idaho, intervened in the case as a defendant on the side of the government but has supported efforts to protect salmon and has called on federal agencies to include tribes in their efforts in the Pacific Northwest.

The court's decision also requires the federal agencies to consult the Spokane Tribe of Washington and the Colville Tribes of Washington.

Separately, the Yakama Nation won a court decision to require the government to keep operating the Fish Passage Center, which counts salmon on the Columbia River. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) inserted a rider into an appropriations bill aimed at killing funding for the center in direct response to the case.

9th Circuit Decision:
National Wildlife Foundation v. National Marine Fisheries Service (April 9, 2007)

Bush Adminstration Salmon Plan Documents:
Biological Opinion | Proposed Action | Court Documents

Relevant Links:
Columbia Inter-Tribal Fish Commission - http://www.critfc.org

Related Stories:
Tribes mark 50 years after loss of Celilo Falls (03/12)
9th Circuit saves salmon center from Republican rider (01/30)
Editorial: Refreshing deal with Yakama Nation (08/18)
Yakama Nation signs salmon protection agreement (08/15)
Yakama Nation seeks compensation for salmon (07/04)
Judge orders new plan for salmon on Snake River (05/24)
Idaho senator kills salmon counting center (11/30)
Idaho senator inserts rider to kill salmon counting (06/24)
Judge orders Bush to reconsider salmon plan (05/27)
Columbia River tribes forced to shut down fishery (05/11)
Mark Trahant: Few salmon left for tribal ceremonies (04/25)
Tribe seeks higher standard on Columbia River (04/21)
Yakama Nation agrees to dam conservation plans (03/31)
Report backs tribe in Columbia River pollution claim (03/08)
Bush administration to reduce protections for salmon (12/01)
Warm Springs Tribes criticize shift on dam breaching (09/10)
Federal agencies change minds on removal of dams (09/01)
Nez Perce Tribe calls for protection of salmon (08/13)
Judge sides with tribes on proposed water spill (07/29)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Taking a trip down memory lane with Lakota Times (4/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe puts hold on ethics board (4/24)
Steven Newcomb: Gradual stealing of Western Shoshone land (4/24)
John Kane: Keystone battle is about Native identity and land (4/24)
Albert Bender: Cowboys and Indians unite to fight Keystone (4/24)
Joyce Oberly: Teach all sides of tribal land theft in Oklahoma (4/24)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Treating Native culture as a commodity (4/24)
Al Jazeera: Pascua Yaqui Tribe looks for justice under VAWA (4/24)
Northern Arapaho Tribe per cap stirs boost in local economy (4/24)
Navajo Nation Council fails to revive higher tax on junk foods (4/24)
Graton Rancheria defends decision to pave over historic site (4/24)
North Dakota commission backs power line opposed by tribes (4/24)
Former Cedarville Rancheria leader back in court for murders (4/24)
Florida court rejects tribal jurisdiction in child custody dispute (4/24)
South Dakota Tribal Relations Secretary to step down from job (4/24)
Yakama Nation sues to put a stop to tours on sacred mountain (4/24)
CSKT firm lands $1.8M contract to provide military equipment (4/24)
Indiana settles lawsuit over religious rights of Indian inmates (4/24)
District leaders on Tohono O'odham Nation removed over theft (4/24)
Morongo Band announces partnership for Internet poker game (4/24)
Snoqualmie Tribe seeks repayment of investment in Fiji casino (4/24)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe expected to miss second gaming payment (4/24)
Judge won't block construction of Jamul Indian Village casino (4/24)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe awaits decision in gaming lawsuit (4/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala student makes name as young writer (4/23)
Mark Trahant: Budget predictions at the Indian Health Service (4/23)
Zoltán Grossman: Cowboy Indian Alliance rides in Washington (4/23)
Gyasi Ross: Stop Keystone XL Pipeline and protect homelands (4/23)
Videos: Cowboy Indian Alliance protests Keystone XL Pipeline (4/23)
Steve Russell: Indians often seen an obstacle to government (4/23)
Mary Pember: Ojibwe women rise to protect the environment (4/23)
Brent Cahwee: Shoni Schimmel brings her show to the WNBA (4/23)
Malcolm Benally: Some Navajo leaders clueless on mascots (4/23)
Jacoby Ellsbury makes strong debut with New York Yankees (4/23)
Washington team owner says he 'understands' Indian issues (4/23)
Gathering of Nations ready for annual powwow and pageant (4/23)
Paskenta Band suspends family during contentious meeting (4/23)
Navajo family sues restaurant over drunken driving deaths (4/23)
Crushplate: 10 disturbing facts about Indian Country health (4/23)
North Dakota tribe ranks high among energy producers in US (4/23)
WXPR: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe taps green energy (4/23)
Opinion: Tribal members challenge California taxation rules (4/23)
Supreme Court allows ban on affirmative action in Michigan (4/23)
Turtle Talk: No word from Supreme Court on Bay Mills case (4/23)
ICT interview with Ernie Stevens of NIGA on racist mascots (4/23)
Jamul Band rejects claim about burial ground at casino site (4/23)
Stockbridge-Munsee Band sends $1M casino application fee (4/23)
Ho-Chunk Nation seeks road grant for off-reservation casino (4/23)
Teacher resigns after arrest for theft at Poarch Creek casino (4/23)
Native Sun News: Sisseton Wahpeton fighter gets big chance (4/22)
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge man behind Revolution Couture (4/22)
CDC reports show high death rates among Native Americans (4/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.