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The #$% Smelt!!!

The judges said the regulations were a “jumble of disjointed facts and analyses,” and “a ponderous, chaotic document"

Mar 17, 2014

The argument over the Delta Smelt boils down to the environmentalists belief that giving the fish more water is necessary to their well-being. Federal Judge Oliver Wanger's 2011 decision was that they failed to prove their case. That's what was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 3-judge panel voted 2-1 to overturn Wanger's ruling.

What's frustrating is that in ruling in favor of the fish, the 2 majority judges said the regulations (called the biological opinion) were a
“jumble of disjointed facts and analyses,” and “a ponderous, chaotic document, overwhelming in size, and without the kinds of signposts and roadmaps that even trained, intelligent readers need in order to follow the agency’s reasoning.” That was written by the 2 judges ruling in favor of the fish.

In dissent, Judge Morris Arnold concurred with the District Court’s previous conclusions that the biological opinion was arbitrary and capricious and failed to rely upon the best available science.

So, we're stuck with the pumping regulations that prevent bureaucrats from making rational decisions.

But, Westland Water District G.M. Thomas Birmingham said, “One thing stated by the court of appeals with which the District strongly agrees is that the resolution of fundamental policy questions about the allocation of water resources in California lies with Congress. It is for precisely that reason that the District supports efforts by members of the California congressional delegation in both houses of Congress to enact legislation that would provide direction on how the Endangered Species Act will apply to operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.”

What Birmingham is saying is that the House and the Senate have to resolve the issue. The court is forced to rule on the law that they have in front of them and if it's bad law it needs to be rewritten. The House has passed legislation to do so, but the Senate has introduced a bill from Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer that has sat on a shelf for over a month without any attempt to pass it. Once again, the Senate let's us down.

This Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing at Fresno City Hall entitled California Water Crisis and Its Impacts: The Need for Immediate and Long-Term Solutions.” The meeting is open to the public and a live video stream will be broadcast at http://naturalresources.house.gov/live. The hearing begins at 10am, but at 9am there will be a rally in front of City Hall. A large crowd will put some political pressure on the Senate to get something passed to help move solutions along. A small crowd will send a message that doing nothing is acceptable. We hope the right message is sent.

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