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
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
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.
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