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BOR wins lawsuit over water transfer
Herald and News by Lacey Jarrell, 8/22/15

An appeals court has upheld a ruling that the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) does not need a pollution permit to transfer water from the Klamath Project to the Klamath River.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Friday in favor of the BOR in a lawsuit brought by the Oregon environmental group ONRC Action, the Associated Press reported.

ONRC, the Oregon Natural Resource Council, changed its name to Oregon Wild in 2006. The group filed the suit in 1997 against the BOR, Klamath Water Users Association, Oregon Water Resources Congress and Klamath Drainage District.

“Reclamation is pleased with the court’s decision. We will continue working with our partners to manage our water resources and to ensure our operations adhere to the laws that protect our water supply and environment,” said BOR Deputy Public Affairs Officer Louis Moore.

Win for BOR, Project

KWUA Deputy Director Matt Vickery said the decision is a win for the BOR and for the Klamath Project.

“It’s more than just about water quality and the permit — there was a threat that if the court decided the other way it could have fundamentally changed how the Project operates — in a negative way,” he said.

The suit alleged the defendants were discharging pollutants — without a permit and without taking the necessary steps to mitigate the discharge of pollutants — into the Klamath River by way of the Klamath Straits Drain. The 8.5-mile drain connects the Project irrigation network near Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, to the Klamath River.

Two pump stations on the Straits Drain circulate water that has traveled through the Klamath Project to the river, court documents said.



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