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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Fed agency betting $2M in taxpayer money that it’ll win Snake River dredging lawsuit

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making a high-stakes bet that it will prevail in a pending lawsuit over Snake River dredging, NPR’s Northwest News Network reports, ordering its contractor to begin preparation work to dredge around Lewiston and Clarkston on Jan. 12, while a federal judge will hear arguments in a lawsuit over the dredging on Jan. 2. In a new court filing, writes reporter Tom Banse, Lt. Col. Timothy Vail, the Army Corps' district commander, estimated an injunction would leave taxpayers on the hook for "upwards of $2,000,000" to pay the contractor to mobilize and then demobilize.

A Seattle attorney for environmental groups that sued over the dredging, Steve Mashuda of Earthjustice, told Banse, "The Corps is basically rolling the dice and assuming they'll come up in their favor. If it were up to me, I would wait to hear from the court before putting so much money at risk.” The Nez Perce Tribe also has joined the legal challenge to the dredging. Banse’s full report is online here at Boise State Public Radio.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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