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Biological Opinions Lawsuit Tracker

latest on lawsuits related to California water exports
June 26, 2020

The federal and state governments have a long history of coordinating the operations of the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. Both projects export water from the same watershed, but today they operate under two different sets of rules because of state and federal disagreements. SCWC supports a science-based approach to determining how water flows and urges both parties to return to the negotiating table to work out voluntary agreements rather than pursuing litigation.

Together, the two water projects provide water to 29 million Californians and 3.3 million acres of farmland.

As the State of California, water contractors in California and the federal government take to the courts to resolve differences in how water is exported from the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, SCWC has begun collecting relevant documents and updates on this page. Check back for the latest as this page is updated as new information is received.

News Articles and Explainers

State, feds in talks over water, Western Farm Press, June 4, 2020

What’s at the heart of California’s water wars? Delta outflow explained, May 28, 2020, CalMatters commentary piece written by Jeffrey Mount and Greg Gartrell of the Public Policy Institute of California

Framework for Agreements to Aid Health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a Starting Point with an Uncertain End, April 17, 2020, Western Water in-depth article by Gary Pitzer of the Water Education Foundation

Federal Actions

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Record of Decision, finalizing biological opinions that govern water project operations, February 2020

Presidential Memorandum on Developing and Delivering More Water Supplies in California, February 19, 2020

State Actions

News Release from California Attorney General on Filing of Lawsuit Against U.S. Government, February 20, 2020

Incidental Take Permit for Long-term Operation of the State Water Project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, State of California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, March 31, 2020

Motion for a preliminary injunction in the state’s lawsuit, filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, April 21, 2020 | Ruling, May 12, 2020

Water Contractors’ Actions

State Water Contractors Lawsuit Challenging the State’s Incidental Take Permit, April 29, 2020

OP-ED: “Why State Water Contractors Sued California Over Restrictions on Water Deliveries,” April 30, 2020

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Lawsuit Challenging the State’s Incidental Take Permit, April 29, 2020

Metropolitan Water District Statement on Incidental Take Permit Litigation Filing, April 29, 2020

Central Valley Project Water Contractors Lawsuit Challenging the State’s Incidental Take Permit, April 29, 2020

Joint San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, Friant Water Authority & Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority Statement on a Lawsuit to protect California’s Central Valley Project, April 29, 2020

Reactions and Letters

Letter from five U.S. Representatives to Governor Gavin Newsom, April 7, 2020

Letter from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein to Secretary David Bernhardt of the U.S. Department of the Interior, April 15, 2020

Letter from U.S. Secretary David Bernhardt to Senator Dianne Feinstein, April 28, 2020

Letter from Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman to Senator Dianne Feinstein, April 28, 2020

Response from Wade Crowfoot and Jared Blumenfeld to Senator Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. John Garamendi, Rep. Josh Harder, and Rep. T.J. Cox regarding biological opinions, May 6, 2020

Response from Wade Crowfoot and Jared Blumenfeld to Minority Leader Shannon Grove, Senators and Assemblymembers, May 6, 2020

Response from Brenda Burman to Senator Dianne Feinstein, May 6, 2020

State Water Contractors Blog: Temporary May 11 Preliminary Injunction Was Not About Delta Smelt, Longfin Smelt or Delta Outflow…So What Was It About? May 13, 2020

Association of California Water Agencies’ Letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt Regarding Voluntary Agreements, May 15, 2020

Association of California Water Agencies letter to Governor Newsom about Voluntary Agreements, May 15, 2020

Rulings

Federal District Court Denies Environmental Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction as to Shasta Dam Operations, June 26, 2020