Judge Orders National Marine Fisheries Service to Prove its Claim it’s too Backlogged to Produce Documents Relating to Threat to Trout

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Eileen Sobeck, director of the National Marine Fisheries Service

The National Marine Fisheries Service, which has resisted supplying documents requested on threats to trout, has had its bluff called by a federal judge.


District Judge Samuel Conti last Wednesday ordered (pdf) the service to show why it’s too backlogged to produce documents requested by Our Children’s Earth Foundation (OCE) and the Ecological Rights Foundation having to do with Stanford University’s “operations and infrastructure that adversely impact steelhead trout which are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act,” according to the groups’ complaint obtained by Courthouse News Service. According to OCE, Stanford controls a dam that obstructs steelhead trout from swimming upstream to freshwater habitats in the early stages of their life cycle. Conti also ordered the agency to produce a ledger sought by the groups.


“The court orders the Fisheries Service to show cause why an injunction should not in the future issue,” Conti said in his ruling. “Accordingly, the Fisheries Service is ordered to file, within 30 days of the date of this order, a document detailing precisely the status of its backlog, how the Fisheries Service intends to (or has been) fixing the problem, the effectiveness of recent changes in eliminating the backlog, how the Fisheries Service will ensure any immediate success will persist beyond the involvement of the court, and any other helpful information.”

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

‘Backlog’ Excuse Doesn’t Fly in Greens’ FOIA Case (by Philip A. Janquart, Courthouse News Service)

Two-Headed Trout Near Phosphate Mine Spark Pollution Alarm in Idaho (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Trout Creek Polluted by “Toilet Flush Every 14 Seconds for 9 Years” (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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