Monday, April 28, 2008

National Wildlife Federation. v. National Marine Fisheries Service

Apr 24: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case Nos. 06-35011 & 06-35019. According to the Appeals Court the consolidated appeals involve another round in the complex and longrunning battle in the Pacific Northwest over salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The action brought by the National Wildlife Federation and other plaintiffs (collectively NWF), deals with a November 2004 Biological Opinion (2004 BiOp) addressing the effects of proposed operations of Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS or Columbia River System) dams and related facilities on listed fish in the lower Columbia and Snake Rivers.

The 2004 BiOp, issued by the agency formerly known as the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NMFS, now NOAA Fisheries), found that proposed FCRPS operations for 2004 through 2014 would not jeopardize the thirteen area salmonid species that are listed as threatened or endangered, nor adversely modify their critical habitat. NMFS and the State of Idaho (collectively NMFS) appeal from the district court’s determination that the 2004 BiOp was structurally flawed and from certain portions of its remand order. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court determination and said, "Its rejection of the 2004 BiOp was entirely appropriate, and it did not abuse its discretion in entering the remand order."

Access the complete opinion (
click here).