Justices to hear Washington appeal of salmon habitat order

Associated Press |

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will review a court order that could force Washington state to pay billions of dollars to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers that block fish migration.

The justices said Friday they'll hear the state's appeal of the ruling by the federal appeals court in San Francisco. That court affirmed a lower court order for the state to fix or replace hundreds of culverts. Those are large pipes that allow streams to pass beneath roads but can block migrating salmon.

The ruling stems from a 2001 lawsuit filed by Native American tribes and the Justice Department. The tribes say they've been deprived of fishing rights that had been guaranteed by treaties.

Washington complained the ruling could have broad implications for land and water use management in the Northwest.

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