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November 10, 2014
Don't Smelt Our Economy!

We're suing over a drought of common sense

Our motto at Pacific Legal Foundation is we never, never, never give up.  Solid evidence is our commitment to challenge the federal government's draconian cuts to water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to San Joaquin Valley farms, rural communities, and millions of Californians.

Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus)This wrong-headed bureaucratic water squeeze -- to help Delta smelt -- has devastated communities and crippled one of the nation's most fertile, productive agricultural areas that feeds much of the nation.  California's natural drought has been made all the worse by a drought of common sense!

We won't stand for the status quo.  I'm hoping you won't either.

It's been awhile since our last update on our smelt litigation, but I have some exciting and important news to share with you.

PLF lawsuit challenges feds' sloppy science

On behalf of hard-hit farmers, PLF is asking the Supreme Court to review the regulation behind those water reductions -- the feds' sloppily drafted Delta smelt "biological opinion" that was used as the basis for slowing water deliveries from the Delta to a trickle.  Our video with PLF Principal Attorney Damien Schiff has more details.

PLF seeks Supreme Court review of the Delta smelt decision

Since the feds' severe water rationing in 2009 for the smelt, PLF has been challenging the destructive regulations in the courts.  We sought Supreme Court review of the regulations on the basis that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Commerce Clause because smelt are an intrastate species -- they only swim in California waters and are not bought, sold or traded.  But even after the High Court denied review of that challenge, we didn't give up.

Government's "whatever the cost" ESA policy must be stopped

We think our current challenge of the smelt "bi-op" represents one of the strongest arguments yet in stopping the federal government's "fish-first" regulatory approach.  In our petition to the Supreme Court, we're also targeting the notorious precedent, TVA v. Hill, where the Supreme Court held in 1978 that species must be protected under the ESA, "whatever the cost."

"This case allows the court to help water-starved communities - and bring balance to environmental regulations by finally overturning the radical TVA precedent."
 - PLF Principal Attorney Damien Schiff
PLF Podcast

Anyone who lives in the San Joaquin Valley or has driven through the area knows the enormous cost of the reductions in water deliveries.  Even before California's current drought, thousands of jobs were lost, hundreds of thousands of farm acres were fallowed, scores of once-thriving orchard trees were reduced to firewood, and water rates spiked in what amounts to a "Delta smelt tax."

Pacific Legal Foundation -- with our "never-give-up" approach to abusive and dangerous federal regulations -- is taking our legal fight to the nation's highest court.

The case is Stewart & Jasper Orchards v. JewellPLF's news release, petition for certiorari, a video, a blog post, and a podcast, are available at:

PLF's ESA litigation derives its power from our donors

Our mission, for 41 years, has been to litigate for limited government, property rights, free enterprise, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations in courts across the country.

As a donor-supported, freedom-based public interest legal organization, PLF needs your help to keep the heat on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop its outrageous enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.

Please make a charitable donation today to restore balance, sound science, and common sense to environmental regulations.

Thank you!
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Rob Rivett
Pacific Legal Foundation

P.S.  We won't stand for the status quo -- where family farmers, rural citizens, and our communities endure the hardship of the federal government's "fish before people" policy.  Big government's policy of starving millions of Californians of water is not just immoral -- it is flat-out unconstitutional.  With your help, we will declare an end to the government's drought of common sense!
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