Atlantic Salmon Federation | Conservation Law Foundation | Maine Rivers | Natural Resources Council of Maine
Today, four groups that were suing Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE: BEP; TSX: BEP.UN) for violating federal law by harming endangered Atlantic salmon on Maine’s Kennebec River announced that they had withdrawn their lawsuit.
The groups said they are focusing their attention on a relicensing and license amendment process being conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that will ultimately determine the future of Brookfield’s four lower Kennebec dams.
The Atlantic Salmon Federation, Conservation Law Foundation, Maine Rivers, and Natural Resources Council of Maine issued the following statement:
“We have withdrawn our lawsuit against Brookfield for violating the Endangered Species Act at its four lower Kennebec dams to focus on the FERC process that is currently underway.
Atlantic salmon are critically endangered, and Brookfield’s dams are pushing this species to the brink of extinction. We cannot miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore the health of one of Maine’s great rivers, bring back millions of sea-run fish, and improve the health of an entire ecosystem relied on by fishermen, wildlife, and so many more.
In a preliminary decision, the judge agreed with the fundamental premise of our lawsuit that Brookfield is breaking federal law by killing and harming salmon without an incidental take permit from the federal government.
Unfortunately, before we could arrive at a final court decision, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a deeply flawed Biological Opinion under the Endangered Species Act that granted Brookfield an incidental take permit allowing it to continue to kill salmon on the Kennebec. This troubling decision ignored the best available science and undermined the premise of our lawsuit. We had no choice but to withdraw it.
We will use all means available to ensure that FERC requires meaningful fish passage measures at the four lower Kennebec dams. As Mainers who care deeply about the future of the Kennebec and riverfront communities, we can accept nothing less than a solution that will save Atlantic salmon from extinction and restore other sea-run fish that cannot reach their spawning habitat.”