Federal Judge Slams National Fisheries Service for Using “Bad Science” in Approving Construction Projects

Wednesday, October 05, 2011
A federal judge criticized the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for using “bad science” in assessing the potential impact that construction on California’s most important water supply projects would have on multiple endangered fish species.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger in the Eastern District of California came in response to lawsuits filed by environmentalists concerned about the welfare of salmon and steelhead, as well as other aquatic species. Lawsuits were also filed by six regional water districts and the State Water Contractors association. At issue was work on the California State Water Project and the federally-run Central Valley Project, both of which move water from Northern California to the Central Valley and Southern California.
Wanger said the NMFS “failed to utilize the best available scientific methodology” in examining what might happen to different salmon runs, and he added that the agency relied on “equivocal or bad science” as part of its work.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Agency Submitted Flawed Species-Impact Report (by Heather Johnson, Courthouse News Service)
Memorandum Decision (U.S. District Court, Eastern California) (pdf)


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