2011-11-04 "Smelt Supreme Court ruling goes against farmers" by Bob Egelko from "San Francisco Chronicle"
SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an appeal by Central California farmers who claimed the federal government lacks constitutional authority to protect the imperiled delta smelt by limiting north-to-south water shipments.
Three San Joaquin Valley growers challenged the government's use of the Endangered Species Act to protect a fish that exists only in California and has no commercial value.
But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in March that the law is constitutional because preserving rare wildlife from extinction is a form of economic regulation that is part of Congress' constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.
Courts around the nation have agreed that "the protection of threatened or endangered species implicates economic concerns," even for species found only in one state, the three-judge panel said. The Supreme Court denied review Monday without comment.
The Pacific Legal Foundation, a property-rights organization that represented the growers, said it would continue to fight restrictions on water shipments. "This is a long-term battle to stop federal intrusion that robs people of their livelihoods and liberties," said foundation attorney Brandon Middleton.
Jason Rylander, a lawyer with Defenders of Wildlife, said it was the sixth time that the high court had "rebuffed radical attacks on the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act."
The case is Stewart & Jasper Orchards vs. Salazar, 10-1551.
2011-11-26 "Saving our species" letter by Jane Reldan of La Jolla to the editor of "San Francisco Chronicle"
I would like to thank The Chronicle for the article "Central Valley farmers lose fight over delta smelt, water" (Nov. 4) regarding endangered species.
It is important that your readers know that Congress is attempting to weaken protections for many endangered species using underhanded, anti-environmental riders attached to budget bills.
These attacks on species and the public lands that protect them are impending. Congress will be voting on a budget bill sometime in the coming weeks.
The current anti-environmental Congress must not be allowed to usher in a new era of extinction. I urge my senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, to oppose budget provisions that weaken the Endangered Species Act or cut off funding for public lands.
Biologists tell us that the next 50 years, 30 percent of some 1,500 species of mammals on the planet are projected to go extinct, largely because of the human-caused collapse of healthy, wild ecosystems. We have a responsibility to future generations to prevent the extinction of fish, plants and wildlife. Once they are gone, we cannot bring them back. Extinction is forever.