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GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- The federal judge overseeing the balancing act between salmon and Columbia Basin dams says he doesn't think he can consider new steps the Obama administration wants to take.

In a letter to lawyers who will participate in a court hearing next Monday in Portland, Ore., U.S. District Judge James Redden says he is concerned that federal law prohibits him from considering any of the new parts of the plan.

The reason is they were developed unilaterally by the federal government, and not, as he had suggested, in conjunction with the other parties involved in a lawsuit that is intended to improve protections for fish.

The Obama administration plan makes changes to one submitted earlier by the Bush administration.

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