SEATTLE, WA.- A Federal court ruling has refueled the debate over breaching dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The ruling issued Wednesday by the US District Court in Seattle orders protection for salmon from warm water temperatures that have impacted fish survival.
The court found that the US Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) has failed to perform its mandatory duty to enforce and ensure a temperature daily maximum in concert with other types of water-quality parameters under the Clean Water Act. Federal Judge Ricardo Martinez ordered the agency to issue a temperature standard for the river.
The ruling cites climate change as worsening a long standing problem with water temperature in reservoirs behind hydropower dams on the rivers. The Clean Water Act bans Columbia River temperatures over 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The court ruling was praised by the conservation and fisheries groups who filed the suit. A spokesman for the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association said. “It is simply unacceptable to let hot water kill otherwise-healthy adult salmon before they can spawn. We’re glad EPA will finally do its job.”