Delta smelt cert petition briefing complete

December 30, 2014 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

Shortly before the holiday break, we filed our reply brief on our petition to the United States Supreme Court requesting that it review the Ninth Circuit’s decision upholding the delta-smelt-inspired water cutbacks which have exacerbated the impacts of California’s drought.  The Court should decide by early January whether to take up t ...


New smelt oped

December 15, 2014 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

Last week, the San Diego U-T published my oped on the smelt water cutbacks.  One of the commenters on the newspaper’s website contends that, this past water year, the Endangered Species Act protections for the smelt had no impact on California’s water supply.  Instead, the cutbacks were imposed because of ESA protections for other fis ...


Amicus support for PLF's Delta smelt cert petition

November 20, 2014 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

PLF’s cert petition in Stewart & Jasper Orchards v. Jewell, which seeks review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision upholding the Delta-smelt-inspired water cutbacks to Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, has received significant amicus curiae support.  Our thanks to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the California Farm B ...


More water for salmon, less for farmers

August 29, 2013 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

Last week, Judge Lawrence O’Neill of the Eastern District of California okayed the Bureau of Reclamation’s plan to release up to 20,000 acre-feet of water into the Trinity and Klamath Rivers.  San Joaquin Valley water districts have filed a lawsuit challenging the releases, which ostensibly are for the health of spawning salmon populat ...


Setting the killer whale record straight, part II

December 07, 2012 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

Earlier this week, Miyoko Sakashita of the Center for Biological Diversity, writing on the Huffington Post, criticized Pacific Legal Foundation’s effort to delist the Southern Resident population of killer whale from the Endangered Species Act.  Of course, this is not CBD’s first criticism of our delisting petition.  But, as you� ...


A whale of a win

November 26, 2012 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

Today, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it is beginning a one-year review to determine whether to delist the Southern Resident population of killer whale from the Endangered Species Act.  The agency’s decision is in direct response to a delisting petition submitted by Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the Center for E ...


A "bear" of a decision for water users

November 15, 2012 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

Last month, Judge Selna of the Central District of California rejected, in Bear Valley Mutual Water Co. v. Salazar, a challenge to the critical habitat designation of the Santa Ana Sucker, a “threatened” fish protected under the Endangered Species Act.  The plaintiffs, a collection of local governments, water districts, and flood contr ...


Breaking : Delta smelt appeals dismissed

August 23, 2012 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

Just minutes ago, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a terse decision dismissing the  environmentalists’ appeals from Judge Oliver Wanger’s injunction limiting enforcement of the Delta smelt biological opinion’s water cutbacks.  The decision does not affect the many other pending appeals from the case that will be heard i ...


Zingers from Judge Wanger


Author:  Damien M. Schiff Last week, Judge Oliver Wanger of the Eastern District of Sacramento overturned the Delta Smelt biological opinion imposing severe water cutbacks on Central Valley farms and towns.  The opinion is filled with sharply worded rebukes of the Service's errors.  In this post, we catalogue those zingers, wi ...