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Fish Activists Lose Bid to Improve Water Quality

PORTLAND, Maine (CN) - The Maine Supreme Court upheld the Board of Environmental Protection's decision not to modify water quality certifications and hydropower permits in Maine, blocking environmentalists' efforts to protect fish migration.

The Friends of Merrymeeting Bay and other environmental groups asked the board to modify the water quality certifications issued for dams on the Kennebec, Androscoggin and Little Androscoggin rivers to provide immediate, safe, upstream passage for fish.

The board held a hearing and determined that it would take no action.

On appeal, the Maine high court unanimously backed the board's stance, saying the statutes clearly give it the authority to make modification decisions.

"Once a license, water quality certificate, or other order has been issued by the Board," Justice Silver wrote, "the statutes and regulation unambiguously provide that the Board has the authority to modify the certificate, but it is not required to do so."

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