National Resources Defense Council v. Jewell (No. 09-17661, 2014)
The en banc court reversed the district court’s judgment in favor of federal defendants in an action brought by environmental groups concerning long-term water contracts the federal Bureau of Reclamation entered pertaining to California’s Central Valley Project, the threatened delta smelt, and the requirement under Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act that federal agencies must consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service prior to taking any agency action that could affect an endangered or threatened species or its critical habitat.
The en banc court held that intervening events did not render the action moot. The en banc court also held that the contractual provisions of the Delta-Mendota Canal Unit Water Services Contracts before the court did not deprive plaintiffs of standing to bring a procedural challenge under Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act. Further, concerning the Sacramento River Settlement Contracts, the en banc court held that the federal Bureau of Reclamation was required to engage in Section 7(a)(2) consultation because, in renewing the challenged contracts, it retained “some discretion” to act in a manner that would benefit the delta smelt.
- This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader.↵