PLF asks Ninth Circuit to invalidate delta smelt restrictions


Author: Brandon Middleton

Today, Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys will file an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to invalidate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's delta smelt water cutbacks as unconstitutional. The appeal will be filed not only on behalf of PLF's farming clients (Stewart & Jasper Orchards, Arroyo Farms, and King Pistachio Grove), but also on behalf of everyone in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California who are suffering as a result of the regulatory drought.

The government's delta smelt water cutbacks are just the latest example of the Endangered Species Act being used to put fish and other animal species ahead of people. But no matter the draconian and unnecessary power of this law, the Endangered Species Act does not trump the U.S. Constitution. Instead, the Constitution allows Congress and federal agencies only to regulate interstate commerce. And since there is nothing interstate or commercial about the delta smelt — the delta smelt is found only in California and has no commercial value — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has violated the Constitution by taking water away from people and giving it to this fish.



Pacific Legal Foundation is proud to be fighting for farmers, laborers, and all those who have experienced hardship due to the federal government's water cutbacks. Stay tuned to the PLF website and the PLF Liberty Blog for more details as the litigation develops.