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Grange holds meeting with Pacific Legal
(From the Wednesday, March 2, 2005 Klamath Courier - KBB Notes following this article)
by Leo Bergeron, president of Greenhorn Grange
The meeting began at 7:30 p.m. on February 17, with approximately 65 people in attendance. A local television station was present and interviewed Russell Brooks, managing attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) and lead attorney on the coho salmon delisting suit of Grange v Evans NMFS.
Bill Ransom from the Klamath Bucket Brigade, Inc. opened the meeting and thanked the Greenhorn Grange for its co-sponsorship of the meeting with Brooks and for leading the charge on the lawsuit for delisting the coho.
The action against the listing of the coho started at the Greenhorn Grange long before the water was shut-off in the Klamath Basin in 2001.
The Greenhorn Grange worked with Jackson County Pomona Grange, in Jackson County, Oregon and with members of the Midland Grange, Midland, Oregon. Two members of the Midland Grange, Tim O'Connor and Rayn Cleaver, were signers on the suit.
This lawsuit challenged the federal government and the Grange won with the help of Pacific Legal Foundation.
Attorney Brooks took about a half-hour presenting the process of the lawsuit. He also explained the recent attempt by the Tribes to acquire oversite rights to the operation of the Klamath basin watershed. That case was dismissed by a federal court in Oakland, California.
After the presentation, more than an hour-and-a-half of questions were asked and answered by Brooks.
Many ranchers and farmers voiced concerns about their water for the coming year. Would the Klamath Project of the Bureau of Reclamation reduce water allotments to the point of crop destruction in favor of coho?
The ruling was that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the coho illegally, because they did not count the hatchery fish. The ruling did not set aside the listing, but the court made the enforcement of the listing not possible.
If NMFS tries to enforce the listing and somebody is harmed by restricted water deliveries for the coho, the courts will impose an injunction and get the water turned back on.
The attorney for PLF felt that the time frame for this type of action would be no more than one week.
The court also directed NMFS that they must complete their revised plan for the recovery of coho and verify if the coho should be listed or not listed.
If they should find that the coho needs listing, then the process will start all over again and the PLF will seek an injunciton prohibiting the implementing of the proposed listing until all challenges are made through the courts.
Brooks was very confident that NMFS would not be able to prove that the coho is threatened or endangered, which are the legal terms for listing with the federal Endangered Species Act.
Today coho are plentiful and the science that is required to make the listing is so much more restrictive. No more can "opinions" create a listing. Now there must be proof, which must be verified with correct data.
Klamath Bucket Brigade
Notes from the
Town Hall Meeting With Russell Brooks – Pacific
Legal Foundation Attorney
On January 11, 2005 U.S.
District Court Judge Michael Hogan heard oral
arguments in Grange vs Evans, National Marine
Fisheries Service and then ruled that the
Endangered Species Act listing of the Klamath
River ESU (An Evolutionarily Significant Unit
or "ESU" is a distinctive group of Pacific salmon,
steelhead, or sea-run cutthroat trout.)
NOAA has even admitted that the threatened
listing of the Klamath Coho was illegal.
In his ruling, Judge Hogan
kept the ESA listing in place until NOAA has
finished the status reviews of 26 Salmon ESU’s
that is due on June 14th.
Russ Brooks, lead attorney
for Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) in Grange v
Evans was in
Some of Brooks’ information:
10. Back to harm – if enforcing the listing causes any harm, real or
imagined; contact a local attorney, Leo Bergeron, or Russ Brooks at
Pacific Legal Foundation. Also, call your local, state and Federal
representatives to complain.
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