Court Judge Marian Blank Horn adjourned the
Klamath Basin “takings” case in Washington,
D.C., on Monday, bringing an official end to
But there is
still more work to be done.
“It is likely
considerable time will be required to
thoroughly complete review of the record and
issue a final judgment,” said Klamath Falls
water attorney Bill Ganong in a news
briefings based on the evidence and
applicable legal standards, followed by
closing oral argument, is tentatively
planned for May 9, according to Ganong.
“We know it
will be after May 9,” he said. “Sometime
after that, the judge will issue her final
trial started on Jan. 30 at the U.S. Court
of Federal Claims, within walking distance
of the White House. More than 20 irrigators
or those representing the interests of
irrigators testified during the trial of
their losses in 2001 when water was shutoff
to benefit endangered fish downstream.
Reclamation officials were listed as
witnesses for the defense during the trial,
and shared agreements that the water
available in 2001 had to be used to meet the
requirements of biological opinions issued
that year to promote the health of the
sucker and coho salmon, according to Ganong.
prevail, the irrigators may be awarded up to
$30 million. More importantly to them, the
irrigators hope a ruling in their favor
would mean that federal agencies must
balance agriculture’s loss against the
benefits to fish downstream.
legal counsel for the plaintiff are
formulating documents that will make it
possible for irrigators to opt in to what
has been certified as a class-action
lead counsel Roger Marzulla, of Marzulla
Law, based in Washington, D.C., worked on
drafting a notice and a claim form for the
suit on Tuesday.
“You have to
file a form that says you’re joining the
class and going to make a claim for the
damages you suffered,” Ganong said.
the defense, led by Kristine S. Tardiff, of
the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental
& Natural Resources, will have an
opportunity to review the class-action form
with Marzulla Law, with a chance to discuss
they will either have agreed on the notice
and the claim form and that will go to the
judge,” Ganong said.
“If there’s a
disagreement, then the judge will resolve
that disagreement and issue the final form.
So by Monday or Tuesday of next week, there
will be an order approving the notice that
goes out and the claim form that goes out.”
form is not finalized yet, but Ganong said
irrigators wishing to fill out a form will
be able to do so locally. A deadline to file
will be determined by the court.
are preliminary and subject to negotiation,
according to Ganong.
heads home today from the nation’s capital,
said he was impressed by those who testified
sincerity and the impact on the community,
that just came through clearly,” Ganong