Court rules against assessments of how Glen Canyon Dam affects endangered fish


By Howard Fischer

Capitol Media Services/East Valley Tribune

A federal appeals court on Monday rejected a bid by the Grand Canyon Trust to force annual environmental assessments on how operation of the Glen Canyon Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation affects an endangered fish that lives downstream.

Endangered humpback chub

The three-judge panel said nothing in federal environmental law requires such an intense review. Judge Ronald Gould also said it would be impractical, as each review would result in a new legal challenge.

But Neil Levine, an attorney for the trust, said Monday’s ruling is not a complete loss.

He said the appellate court, in its unanimous ruling, threw out a trial judge’s order that dismissed one part of the organization’s challenge to the assessments of what the current dam operating scheme means not only to the humpback chub but other downstream uses, including camping. Levine said that gives the trust another chance to force major changes to when and how water is released.


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August 2012