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Court is "Just Plain Wrong" in Minnow Case

From: Commissioner John Keys, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
June 13, 2003

To the Editor [of the Albuquerque Journal]:

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decided on June 12 to uphold an
earlier court decision directing the Bureau of Reclamation to give
priority to water deliveries for the silvery minnow at the expense of
farms and cities. This Opinion is a major setback to the collaborative
process that we have worked so hard to develop.

For example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of
Reclamation worked hard this year to develop a 10-year Biological
Opinion that would help the silvery minnow not only survive, but recover
-- while still allowing local citizens the water they need to sustain
their lives and livelihoods.

We believe that the 10th Circuit Opinion is just plain wrong. My
commitment to the people living in the Middle Rio Grande Valley is that
the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Reclamation, and I
personally will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf to explore
all legal options to address the 10th Circuit Opinion.

In the meantime, we will continue to work with federal, state, pueblo
and local officials, farmers, environmental groups and other private
organizations and citizens to meet the competing water needs of the

John W. Keys III
Bureau of Reclamation





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