Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Environment

Tiny delta smelt wins a big legal victory against ag and urban interests

See also

A tiny endangered fish, the delta smelt (hypomesus transpacificus), "won" a huge legal victory yesterday in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a 2-1 decision that reversed a key finding in an earlier ruling, the Court found that previous decisions that justified restrictions on water distribution in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta were valid and not "arbitrary and capricious" as another federal court had determined in 2010.

More Photos

The opinion was written by Judge Jay S. Bybee, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, and represents a major win for those who support government protections for endangered species.

The Central Valley Project and the State Water Project supply water to agricultural and domestic consumers in central and southern California. The source of that water is the estuary at the confluence of the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. However, that water source is the lone habitat for the delta smelt, which had previously been determined to be endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.

The new decision is bound to cause consternation amongst the San Joaquin Valley's agricultural and conservative political interests, including Congressional House Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) who has repeatedly referred to environmentalists as caring "...more about protecting fish than putting Californians back to work."

Advertisement

News

  • Baseball Hall of Fame
    The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomes six new inductees
    Video
    Video
  • 2012 do-over
    If we were to re-do the 2012 election, a new poll suggests Romney would win
    Politics
  • Boko Haram
    Boko Haram kidnaps the wife of the vice prime minister of Cameroon
    World News
  • Ceasefire breaks
    Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu claims Hamas broke another brief ceasefire
    Gaza
  • Close call with CME
    Scientists tell how Earth survived a giant solar flare back in 2012
    Space
  • Comic-Con
    What's going on at Comic-Con? Get all the latest updates here
    Comic-Con