Enviros File Suit For Water

Published online: Feb 02, 2004
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Because a federal judge in Portland, OR, has not been convinced that he should include the operation of the dams in the Upper Snake River system with biological opinion of the Lower Snake River, environmental groups have filed suit.

According to the Potato Growers of Idaho, which has been watching the action of four environmental groups for several months, the lawsuit attempts to have the current biological opinion for the Bureau of Upper Snake River project thrown out, seeks to establish that more water should be sent downstream to meet federal flow targets, and argues that irrigators can be shut off if needed to meet the flow targets.

Attorneys for the water users are now reviewing the complaint and will make a recommendation on how to proceed with action of their own. In the meantime the Idaho state Attorney General's office has said it will intervene in the case.

The issue is critical to growers on the Idaho end of the Snake River system because the area has been in a prolonged drought and irrigators are already in a deficit water-storage situation.