Groups plan suit over Northwest oil-response plan

SEATTLE— Environmental groups say they plan to sue the federal government for failing to ensure that regional oil-response plans don’t harm endangered species.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Friends of Columbia Gorge sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue on Wednesday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard and others.

The groups say the agencies didn’t consult with federal fisheries experts to make sure its latest regional oil-spill response plan would not harm endangered species such as salmon, shorebirds and whales.

The groups say the dramatic increase in crude oil moved by rail and barge along the Columbia River Gorge and Puget Sound raises the risks of potential oil spills. They say measures aimed at responding to spills may also harm protected animals.

An EPA spokeswoman says the agency is reviewing the notice but declined comment due to the litigation.

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