Crosscut article: Are the feds simply shielding Columbia River dams from wrecking balls?

The Obama administration keeps recycling Bush-era Columbia River policies, and it keeps losing. What’s the deal?

In the words of the former New York Yankees catcher and manager Yogi Berra, “it’s deja vu all over again.” In mid-June, the National Wildlife Federation and an array of other environmental and fishing groups filed a complaint in federal court alleging that the federal government’s Biological Opinion (BiOp) on the operation of the Columbia River dams violates federal law. The feds have been issuing these Columbia River BiOps since the Clinton administration. Conservation groups, fishing groups, tribes and the state of Oregon have been challenging them — and prevailing.

Courts have shot down four BiOps so far. The BiOp issued in 2010 was much like the one issued in 2008 (deja vu). The BiOp issued this year is much like the one issued in 2010 (deja vu all over again). Yogi nailed it.

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