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Published: Sunday, 6/3/2007

Protesters rally by boat near Oregon power plant

An organizer of a waterborne rally yesterday protesting fish kills at FirstEnergy Corp.'s Bay Shore power plant in Oregon said she hopes to stage a similar event next year.

Sandy Bihn, an organizer of the rally and a member of the national Waterkeeper Alliance, said six boats took part in the three-hour protest on Lake Erie.

Protesters held up a sign that read "Stop the Fish Kill" and hope to raise awareness that millions of fish are killed after they are caught up by swift current at the coal-fired power plant's cooling-water intake. Some fish go into the cooling system itself, while others suffer fatal trauma when they strike protective screens at high speed.

"I think people are caring more and becoming more aware of the issues," Ms. Bihn said. "It seems unconscionable that power plants can kill as many fish as they want, 365 days a year."

FirstEnergy officials have acknowledged that millions of fish and larvae have been killed in the plant's 50-year history, but said the cost to install a cooling tower that would reduce the fish deaths would be more than $200 million.

Ms. Bihn said she plans to hold another boat rally next year.

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