Judge says no to bid to protect Wash. fish farm

By TIM FOUGHT | May 27, 2011 | 10:29 PM EDT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Oregon has denied a request to reduce the volume of water released from the Grand Coulee Dam that has killed fish raised in pens downstream.

Judge James Redden said Friday he is sympathetic to the operators of the Pacific Aquaculture fish farm. They say thousands of fish have died and millions more are at risk. But the judge says he won't invoke the Endangered Species Act to protect them.

The act doesn't protect farmed fish. The company says the heavy flows are also putting protected wild fish at risk, but Redden says the company hadn't shown that's so.

Federal water managers have increased dam releases to prepare for expected heavy runoff of mountain snow and to prevent flooding in downstream cities such as Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.