PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A hearing gets under way Monday that's expected to lead to a decision by a federal judge who has been working for years on a ruling about how the federal government can operate Columbia River dams without driving wild salmon to extinction.

Judge James Redden is expected to begin hearing from the lawyers in Portland in the morning. Those working on the case say the hearing may lead Redden to decide whether the government's latest plan meets the demands of the Endangered Species Act.

Twice before, Redden has rejected the government's proposals. This spring, he asked the new Obama administration to take a fresh look, and the plan it came up with is at the center of the hearing Monday.

Environmentalists, salmon fishermen, the state of Oregon and the Nez Perce tribe are challenging the government and say the new plan isn't much different or better than the ones Redden has rejected.

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