Document Type


Publication Title

Environmental Law

Journal Abbreviation

Env't L.


This article surveys the history of hydropower-salmon tradeoffs in the Columbia Basin in the 20th century. The resolution of those tradeoffs has overwhelmingly favored hydropower, as often the federal agencies running the Federal Columbia River Power System claimed a lack of authority to improve river conditions to preserve more salmon under the assumption that hydropower generation was the dominant use of the river. The article challenges this assumption, examining the National Environmental Policy Act, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, the Federal Power Act, the Columbia River Treaty with Canada, and Indian treaty fishing rights. The article concludes that there is sufficient authority -- and arguably the legal obligation -- to protect and restore the salmon runs of the Columbia Basin.

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