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Stockton, CA, April 23, 2020 – On Earth Day 4/22/20, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed new documents in the State’s ongoing legal action seeking to overturn the Trump Administration’s new biological opinions for federal water pump operations in the San Francisco Bay-Delta.

The Trump biological opinions are the result of an administration intent on weakening the protections required by existing biological opinions.

The court documents filed yesterday are:

  1. An amended complaint, which adds claims that the Bureau of Reclamation’s operations of the CVP violate the Endangered Species Act and violate the California Endangered Species act;
  2. A motion for a preliminary injunction, asking the Court to limit pumping next month to the levels required by the 2008 and 2009 biological opinions, rather than the higher pumping levels allowed under the Trump biops.

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The Trump Administration’s permits maximize water deliveries to agribusinesses and other water districts served by the federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project. Trump’s Interior Secretary who oversaw the biops is David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for Westlands Water District.

As reported by Politico:
“In October 2017, Bernhardt’s calendars show he had begun directing a series of specific steps to rewrite the underlying protections for the Delta smelt, a 3-inch-long fish that lives only in the Bay-Delta and which scientists say is teetering on the brink of extinction in large part because of water pumping. He also directed a rewrite of protections for winter-run Chinook salmon, which also restrict water exports. Those changes are aimed at cementing far looser species protections than the drought bill secured, and for years going forward.”

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta said:
“We are grateful to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his continued work to protect the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary from extreme pumping. Delta species deserve protection — and the health of Delta people is tied to the proper management and health of the estuary. What a great way to honor the legacy of environmental law enforcement since the first Earth Day, 50 years ago.”

www.restorethedelta.org