Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wild Fish Conservancy v. Jewell

Sep 11: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 10-35303. Appealed from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. The panel dismissed an action brought by the Wild Fish Conservancy challenging the United States' diversion of water from Icicle Creek, a tributary of the Wenatchee River and the Columbia River, to the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery.
    The Appeals Court explains that this appeal concerns the control of water necessary to sustain native fish populations in Icicle Creek, a tributary of the Wenatchee River, which is itself a tributary of the Columbia. The Wild Fish Conservancy and Harriet S. Bullitt (collectively, the Conservancy) allege that the United States is improperly diverting water from Icicle Creek to the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery (the Hatchery) and otherwise violating Washington State law. The Appeals Court says, "We conclude that the Conservancy lacks prudential standing to bring its claim that the Hatchery operation violates the Washington water code, and that we lack jurisdiction to consider the Convervancy's other claims because they either do not challenge final agency action or rest on provisions of Washington law that are not incorporated into federal reclamation law. Therefore, on de novo review, we dismiss this action."
    In its summary the Appeals Court indicates, "As we have often acknowledged, '[s]almon and hydropower are the two great natural resources of the Columbia River Basin,' and ardent desires to promote one or the other have yielded a century of conflict. . . This iteration does not present the 'classic struggle between environmental and energy interests' . . .but instead a more nuanced conflict between two entities seeking to repair the damage that dams have done to the Basin's fisheries. Unlike the many cases we have decided concerning the fate of fish in the Columbia River Basin, the claims before us are not susceptible to federal judicial review. . ."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Water, #Wildlife, #Energy, #CA9]