En Banc 9th Circ. Flips ESA Ruling For Calif. Water Deals
By Sean McLernon
Law360, New York (April 16, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT) -- An en banc Ninth Circuit panel overturned the appeals court's earlier decision supporting dozens of 25- and 40-year water supply contracts in California, ruling Wednesday that federal officials, in violation of the Endangered Species Act, ignored potential harm to fish populations when they renewed the agreements.
The state's Bureau of Reclamation violated the ESA by failing to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service concerning possible damage to the threatened delta smelt, according to the decision.