Idaho, Oregon reach agreement on hydroelectric project

(Photo Courtesy Water Resource Board.) Recharge water pouring into a lava basin at the Milepost 31 location on the Milner-Gooding Canal, near Shoshone.
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho and Oregon have reached an agreement on a hydroelectric project on the Snake River that requires an Idaho utility to spend about $312 million on water quality and habitat improvements.

Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little and Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown in separate news releases announced the agreement Monday.

Idaho Power has been trying to obtain a new 50-year license for its Hells Canyon Complex from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after the old one expired in 2005.

Oregon insisted on returning federally protected salmon above the dams, but Idaho fought that requirement and won.

On another front before relicensing can happen, NOAA Fisheries is considering a possible analysis of how the dams harm salmon and orcas, which feed on salmon produced in the Columbia River Basin.

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