October 7, 2010

The Sacramento splittail: the new Delta smelt?

By The Sacramento splittail: the new Delta smelt?

Author:  Damien M. Schiff

Today, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service issued a 12-month finding under the Endangered Species Act on whether to list the Sacramento splittail, a small fish found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The Service determined that the listing is not warranted, largely because the splittail's habitat is good and because the state has engaged in a number of Delta ecosystem restoration programs.  PLF filed comments on the proposed listing, arguing that the listing would exceed Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce under the Constitution.  Our arguments mirror the position put forth in our Delta smelt lawsuit, where we challenge as unconstitutional the water cutbacks to California's Central Valley on account of ESA protection for the Delta smelt.

The Service's finding is not the end of the story, however.  The Center for Biological Diversity announced that it would sue the Service over its refusal to list the species.  PLF will closely monitor that litigation.

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