Environmentalists fighting Otter's dam projects

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Environmentalists are worried about new and expanded dams on southwestern Idaho rivers after lawmakers voted to inject millions into studying water storage projects pushed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Idaho Rivers United Thursday formally opposed what could be $1.3 billion in dams on the Boise and Weiser rivers.

A day earlier, the House voted unanimously to spend $3.5 million to complete initial studies.

In a press release, however, the Boise-based group touted 650 signatures on a petition urging lawmakers to scuttle the projects and instead work on healthy river flows, natural habitat and water quality.

On the Weiser River, Otter wants a $500 million dam.

He's also pushing an $800 million expansion of Arrowrock Dam on the Boise.

The bill funding studies of the projects now is in the Senate.