Delta Smelt and the U S Supreme Court

This case, if heard could relieve some of the pressure on the ESA vs Water Rights ongoing saga in the Central Valley of California. On July 15, 2014, the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors, agricultural and municipal water users who collectively divert up to approximately 2.2 million acre-feet of water annually directly from the Sacramento River, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States. Below is the paragraph of interest. The Ninth Circuit disagreed and held that Reclamation had discretion to renegotiate certain terms of the contracts in a manner that would benefit the endangered delta smelt.  The Settlement Contractors argue that this decision is in conflict with the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in National Association of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife, 551 U.S. 644 (2007), that Section 7(a)(2) discretion does not apply to actions that an agency is required by statute to do—such as the requirement that Reclamation renew the settlement contracts in order to remain in compliance with its state water right permits. Read the article here:

July 17, 2014