BOISE (AP) — An Idaho utility is challenging a decision by federal regulators rejecting its request to negate an Oregon law requiring fish passage as part of relicensing for a hydroelectric project on the Snake River.
Idaho Power on Friday petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's decision in January.
The commission dismissed Boise-based Idaho Power's request that it exempt the three-dam Hells Canyon Complex from an Oregon law requiring fish passage as part of relicensing.
The company says the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution that has to do with federal authority over states pre-empts the Oregon law. But the commission said it found no reason why Oregon couldn't require fish passage and reintroduction as part of relicensing.
Mary O'Driscoll, commission spokeswoman, said the commission had no comment.
While Oregon requires fish passage, Idaho lawmakers have prohibited moving salmon and steelhead upstream of the three dams.
The company has previously said it's stuck between the two states and their conflicting positions.
Idaho Power spokesman Brad Bowlin said he couldn't comment on the petition before the court, which could be made unnecessary if Idaho and Oregon reach an agreement.
“The states have been working toward a solution in the last several months,'' he said. “We are optimistic that a solution can be reached.''
Idaho Power's 50-year license to operate the complex expired in 2005, and the company has since been operating on annually issued licenses.
Oregon has said it wants salmon and steelhead to be able to access four Oregon tributaries that feed into the Hells Canyon Complex. Chris Pair, spokesman for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, didn't return a call from the AP on Friday.
For Idaho Power to meet Oregon's requirement, it would have to trap and transport the fish, which would require approval from Idaho.
But Idaho is against reintroducing salmon and steelhead above the dams and has passed a law opposing reintroduction of any species without the consent of the Legislature and governor.
Biologists have said the Snake River above the dams is so degraded it couldn't support salmon and steelhead without significant rehabilitation work, which would require cooperation from landowners.
Idaho Power supplies electricity to customers in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. The Hells Canyon Complex produces about 40 percent of the company's total annual power generation, the company said in its filing.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The wife of an Oglala Sioux police officer is charged with killing him last weekend.
Tiffany Janis is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 52-year-old Officer Brian Garrett of Kyle. The Rapid City Journal reports Janis made her first appearance in federal court Wednesday.
The FBI says Garrett was killed early Saturday on the Pine Ridge Reservation during an apparent domestic dispute. He was off-duty at the time.
According to court documents, Janis told investigators Garrett had kicked her out after an argument and that she went to her truck and got her gun before returning to the house. Garrett was shot once in the chest.
Janis' federal public defender declined comment Thursday.
The FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Oglala Sioux tribal police are investigating.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Nearly 200 homes are without running water on the Rocky Boy Reservation after a cold snap broke pipes last week.
Yellowstone Public Media reported Wednesday that the reservation has been plagued by water shortages because federal funding for a much-needed water project hasn't come through.
The project would install a multi-million-dollar pipeline to provide water for the reservation and nearby communities. A bill to start the project has stalled.
Chippewa Cree tribal chairman Harlan Baker says drinking water is being delivered to the people who are impacted.
He says residents who still have running water are being told to boil it before drinking.