Archive for December 1st, 2008


Salem, Oregon Drinking Water & Growth v. Salmon & Fed. Regulators

Protecting the fish has complicated Salem’s effort to replace 11 miles of pipeline that supplies the city with drinking water. The city’s application for an environmental permit has provided an avenue for the federal regulators to use their clout.

A draft biological opinion issued in March states that the pipeline project, as proposed, is “likely to jeopardize the continued existence” of the two salmonids.

(Is that Bush’s Ineffective federal regulators mucking up the Salem plan?)

The federal report calls for the city’s withdrawals from river to be set at a maximum of 55 million gallons of water per day— that’s 11 million gallons per day less than the city’s current capacity to deliver water.

“We cannot accept that,” said Peter Fernandez, Salem’s interim public- works director.For at least five years, Salem has been discussing the pipeline replacement project with regulators. Several phases of the $74 million project, including pipeline replacement from Geren Island to Stayton and Franzen Reservoir to Turner, have been completed.

It’s the permit process for the last two phases, which would replace leaking pipelines between the Turner and Stayton area, that has Salem clashing with the fisheries service.

So, here is a classic question of fish v. citizen, growth, industry. Should the fish prevail and why, other than we want them to and we want to fish? Are there other water sources available to supplement the demands and are there risks to fish there?

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December 2008

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