Description: Citizen suit alleging operations of four hydroelectric dams in Maine resulted in unlawful taking of Atlantic salmon.
Atlantic Salmon Federation v. Merimil LP
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/30/2022 Order Download Motion to stay case denied and requested extension granted. 02/24/2022 Order Download Motion for a preliminary injunction denied. Federal Court Mentioned Arguments Regarding Dams’ Climate Benefits in Denying Preliminary Injunction Motion. In an Endangered Species Act citizen suit alleging that the operations of four hydroelectric dams on Maine’s Kennebec River interfere with the migration of, and resulted in the unlawful “taking” of, Atlantic salmon, the federal district court for the District of Maine denied a motion for a preliminary injunction. Biological opinions and incidental take statements authorizing the incidental take of Atlantic salmon expired at the end of December 2019, and the court said the defendants were “actively seeking to renew” the authority. The court found that although the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim, the plaintiffs did not show that the specific injunctive relief they sought would prevent harm that was likely and otherwise irreparable. Regarding the balance of the equities and the public interest, the court again cited the plaintiffs’ failure to establish that a preliminary injunction would prevent irreparable harm. The court also noted that in the defendants’ balance of the equities and public interest arguments, they had contended that the carbon-free electricity produced by the dams “helps to fight climate change and thus benefits fish in the Kennebec River.” The court found that these arguments “suffer from a dearth of evidence,” including because they did not show that the dams’ climate benefits were substantial.