Back to News Releases
COURT REJECTS GOVERNMENT'S ATTEMPT TO AVOID LAWSUIT ON COLUMBIA/WILLAMETTE CHANNEL DEEPENING
A federal district court decision on Friday dealt a setback to proponents of deepening the shipping channel of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers when it rejected their attempt to dismiss a lawsuit by environmentalists. Federal District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein denied motions by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Columbia River Ports to throw out environmentalists' lawsuit, stating that the groups "...would suffer a hardship by the postponement of judicial action..."
"This lawsuit is about government being accountable to the public," said Nina Bell, Executive Director of Northwest Environmental Advocates (NWEA). "Despite government scientists serious concerns that channel deepening will further erode environmental quality of the Columbia River Estuary, the Fisheries Service gave the project a green light. Now they'll have to answer for putting politics ahead of science," said Bell.
The lawsuit filed by NWEA, American Rivers, and others, challenged the
Fisheries Service finding that the Corps' project complies with the federal
Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS had rushed to prepare the formal Biological
Opinion in December, 1999 in order to preserve Congressional authorization
that would have otherwise expired at the end of the year.
133 SW 2nd Ave., Portland, OR 97204-3526 (503) 295tes)0 FAX 295-6634