By Paul VanDevelder
February 13, 2011 -- Sometime this spring, a federal district court judge in Portland will render a decision based on the federal Endangered Species Act that will determine the fate of two dozen endangered salmon stocks that spawn in rivers from Sacramento to British Columbia. Just another ho-hum environmental lawsuit? Don't bet on it.
Judge James A. Redden's decision promises to be as momentous as any court-ordered environmental remedy in our lifetimes, the Dred Scott of environmental law. Of the many battles waged in the wake of the Endangered Species Act, no other beast, fish or fowl has created a more politically charged -- or more expensive -- fight than West Coast salmon.