Thursday, December 16, 2010

San Joaquin Valley - U.S. agency's smelt plan 'arbitrary,' judges rules

A number of months ago, Hannity had a special on the plight of the farmers in the San Joaquin valley. The government had created a dust bowl in the valley by shutting off the water supply to preserve the delta smelt. Even after this ruling, it is not certain that the water will be turned back on.

A federal judge has ruled that a landmark 2008 environmental study laying the groundwork for controversial water cutbacks from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta relied on faulty science.

In his much-anticipated decision released Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-examine and rewrite its plan for the threatened delta smelt.

The agency's solution for shoring up the collapsing species - namely cutting water exports to California cities and farms - is "arbitrary" and "capricious," the Fresno judge wrote in his 225-page decision.

"Despite the harm visited on California water users, (the Fish and Wildlife Service) has failed to provide lawful explanations for the apparent over-appropriation of project water supplies for species protection," Wanger wrote. "The public cannot afford sloppy science and uni-directional prescriptions that ignore California's water needs."

It is unclear whether Wanger's decision will lift restrictions on water exports from the delta, in part, because wet weather this winter might provide additional flows for the smelt.

Farming and environmental groups, along with the federal and state operators of the delta pumps, are scheduled to meet Jan. 4 in Wanger's courtroom to determine how to proceed.

Read full San Francisco Chronicle article here.

No comments:

Post a Comment