PEAC victory will improve water quality, save salmon
March 07, 2012
A federal judge recently ruled that federal agencies violated their duties in their approval and review of Oregon water quality temperature standards. The ruling is a significant victory for the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, which is based at Lewis & Clark Law School. It will greatly impact Oregon’s water quality and protect species of fish that require cold water for survival, including salmon.
Under the Clean Water Act, states are required to set water quality standards to protect all uses of waterbodies. In Oregon, these critical “uses” include salmon and bull trout spawning, rearing, and migration. But Oregon’s rivers and streams have become too hot for the long-term survival of threatened and endangered salmon, steelhead, and bull trout.
The court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) violated their respective duties under the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.
The ruling has the potential to set significant national precedent regarding these federal agencies’ roles in overseeing state water quality programs.
For more information on this ruling, see the following articles and documents:
- Case history
- District Court decision
- Northwest Environmental Advocates news release (PDF)
- Article in The Oregonian
- Editorial in The Oregonian