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Federal agencies change minds on removal of dams

The federal agencies overseeing dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest have reversed their position on the potential removal of the dams.

During the Clinton administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service, Army Corps of Engineers and Bonneville Power Administration concluded that some dams may need to be removed in order to restore runs of salmon. Then-presidential candidate George W. Bush opposed the idea.

Now, in response to a lawsuit, the agencies have decided that dam removal is not an option. They will formally present their view in a biological opinion that will be delivered to a federal judge on September 10. The judge threw out the previous opinion.

Tribes and environmentalists have backed breaching of the dams. Four tribes have treaty rights on the Columbia River and other tribes use and depend on the rivers.

Get the Story:
Feds conclude dams don't jeopardize salmon (The Seattle Times 9/1)
U.S. discounts need for Snake dam removal (AP 9/1)
U.S. Says It Won't Remove Dams (The Washington Post 9/1)