Rossmann and Moore, LLP

NRDC v. Jewell

This week, a unanimous 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with environmental organizations challenging the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s renewals of long-term water contracts with Sacramento River settlement contractors. The opinion, reversing two earlier decisions, held that section 7 of the the Endangered Species Act required consultation with federal fisheries agencies addressing the condition of the threatened delta smelt.  After rejecting standing and mootness defenses, the court concluded that neither the contracts nor the applicable laws deprived the fisheries agencies of discretion, or required the Bureau to renew the contracts. The full opinion can be found here: http://www.courthousenews.com/2014/04/16/smelt.pdf