This week, Pacific Rivers and Idaho Rivers United filed a petition challenging the way power is harnessed at the Hells Canyon complex. The groups claim the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, did not meet requirements when they gave certification to Idaho Power.
Idaho Power is seeking a 50-year license for the dams. Hells Canyon is on a state line, meaning both the Oregon and Idaho DEQs must give certifications for the utility to license their dams.
Kevin Lewis with Idaho Rivers United says there are multiple violations — including temperature, mercury and fish migration — that this certification ignored. These violations, says Lewis, can’t wait any longer to be addressed.
“It will be a 50-year license and we think we shouldn’t be kicking the can down the road for 50 more years before we even start talking about this", says Lewis. "This is something we need to address sooner than 50 years from now.”
These claims will be heard by the Oregon State Court.
For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915
Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio