Group Seeks Opinion on New Water Standards

     PORTLAND, Ore. – Two federal agencies never finished their assessment of whether new water quality standards for toxic pollutants adequately protect Oregon’s native fish and fish-eating birds and mammals, an environmental group claims in Federal Court.

     Northwest Environmental Advocates says Oregon submitted a revised plan for dealing with toxic water pollutants to the Environmental Protection Agency in July 2004.
     In January 2008, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service began to assess the new plan, as required by the Endangered Species Act, but they never finished the process or issued an opinion, according to the lawsuit.
     Northwest Environmental says its members would benefit from better habitat for Oregon endangered species, such as Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Chum, Steelhead Salmon, bull trout, suckers, chubs, whales, and fish-eating birds and mammals.
     The environmental group wants the agencies to issue a biological opinion on the new plan as soon as possible.
     It is represented by Allison LaPlante with the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center.

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