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Idaho utility sues EPA over Hells Canyon dams requirement

This photo from the Idaho Power Co. shows Hells Canyon Dam in 2003. (Associated Press)
This photo from the Idaho Power Co. shows Hells Canyon Dam in 2003. (Associated Press)

BOISE, Idaho – An Idaho utility has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contending the agency failed to act on a request by the state of Idaho to modify water temperature standards below a hydroelectric project on the Idaho-Oregon border.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Idaho Power Company in U.S. District Court seeks to force the agency to approve a 2012 request by Idaho allowing warmer water temperatures in the Snake River below the Hells Canyon Complex.

The area is a key spawning spot for federally protected fall chinook salmon.

Idaho Power says the EPA is violating environmental and administrative laws by failing to act.

The company says changing the water temperature standards won’t harm salmon but could save customers up to $100 million over 50 years.

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