Clarity Blog

Clarity Blog

Posts Tagged ‘delta smelt’

Judicial Whippings and Delta Pumps

Judge Oliver Wanger today dropped a bomb on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and its supporters in the environmental movement by ruling that the Service’s efforts to protect the delta smelt by cutting off water supplies to folks and farmers from San Jose to San Diego lacked scientific justification.  In a 225-page decision issued late this afternoon, Wanger threw out the biological opinion (“BiOp”) written by the Service, and used by the Service to severely limit pumping of Sacramento-San Joaquin delta water to thirsty users to the south.

“[T]he public cannot afford sloppy science and uni-directional prescriptions that ignore California’s water needs,” Wanger wrote, as he endorsed some of the Service’s science as just fine, but called other elements “arbitrary and capricious,” that it “represents a failure to use the best available science,” and that the Service failed to address or explain “material bias” in the data.  He also said these mistakes “fatally taint” other scientific findings used by the Service to cut water deliveries.

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