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PNS Daily Newscast - April 9, 2020 


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspends his campaign for president. And COVID-19 is ravaging the black community in some areas, including Milwaukee.

2020Talks - April 9, 2020 


Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drops out of the race for president, though he assured supporters yesterday his movement will continue. A federal judge ruled this week a lawsuit in Florida awaiting trial will apply to all people with former felony convictions, not just the 17 plaintiffs.

New Draft of Salmon Recovery Plan – No Big Changes?

PHOTO: Will the fourth federal plan to save endangered salmon species make headway? Its critics say it isn't much different than earlier plans that were found lacking. Photo credit: iStockphoto.com.
PHOTO: Will the fourth federal plan to save endangered salmon species make headway? Its critics say it isn't much different than earlier plans that were found lacking. Photo credit: iStockphoto.com.
September 11, 2013

SEATTLE - Another deadline is approaching in the lengthy court battle to protect endangered Northwest wild salmon species, and this week the federal government has done its part to meet it by submitting a draft version of an updated plan.

However, conservation and fishing groups say there's nothing new in the new "biological opinion."

The draft does go into more specifics about what the government is planning, but Earthjustice attorney Steve Mashuda, who represents the challengers, said that based on the previous bi-ops, that doesn't mean the projects will happen or that they'll work.

"We've seen that, particularly starkly, in the Columbia River Estuary," he said. "They're now about four years behind even where they thought they'd be at this point, and they don't really have a great plan to catch up."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency that produced the plan, said the government is spending more money in the Columbia River Estuary on fish habitat projects and will continue to operate the dams on the Columbia system as it has been, for the most part.

Three previous biological opinions have been rejected in federal court for not doing enough to protect salmon. In Mashuda's view, the best thing about this week's bi-op is that it is still in draft form.

"This does not have to be the final biological opinion," he said. "We could go back and NOAA could go back in the next several months and redo this biological opinion to include measures that will do something for the fish in the short term, and one that would comply with the law."

One ongoing concern of fishing and environmental groups - as well as farmers, shippers and others who use the Columbia River system - is that the plans haven't recommended bringing all stakeholders in on the discussions about how to improve the salmon runs, Mashuda said.

The court-ordered bi-op has to be finalized by the end of the year. It's now up for public comment through Oct. 7.

The draft supplemental biological opinion is online at nwr.noaa.gov.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA