Trump administration urged to avoid salmon protection rules

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A group that represents farmers says saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest is too costly and is turning to the Trump administration.

The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee known as the “God Squad” with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act.

The group says the panel could end years of legal challenges over federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers and bring stability for businesses that rely on the water.

The group made a similar request during the Obama administration but got nowhere. It sees hope in a series of pro-industry environmental decisions by President Donald Trump.

Environmental groups call the request a publicity stunt and say it could hurt fishing companies and others that rely on healthy runs of federally protected salmon and steelhead.

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