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KWUA: Court should move Tribes case

The Klamath Water Users Association is seeking a new venue for a lawsuit filed recently by the Klamath Tribes.

The water users association on Wednesday filed a motion in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of San Francisco, asking that the Klamath Tribes’ case be dismissed in San Francisco’s court, and that the case be heard in federal court located closer to Upper Klamath Lake, where the case originates.

Klamath Water Users Association is asking that a federal court in Sacramento or a federal court in Oregon be used to hold a hearing about the lawsuit, stating that San Francisco is outside the purview of where the case originates. KWUA officials emphasized they are not asking for the case to be thrown out altogether, but just seeking a change in venue.

“The Plaintiff Klamath Tribes litigation against Defendants United States Bureau of Reclamation, United States Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS), and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively federal defendants) concerns a lake in Oregon, two species of fish (Endangered Lost River sucker and shortnose sucker) in that lake, and alleged impacts to those species caused by a federal project located entirely in Oregon and the Eastern District of California,” said the motion filed by Somach Simmons & Dunn, a firm representing the association.

“There is no colorable basis for venue in the Northern District and, therefore, the action should be dismissed.”

Counsel for the Plaintiff and intervenors have their offices in the Eastern District, the motion continues, stating they believe this should be taken into account according to the proper venue for civil actions.

A hearing is scheduled with Judge William Orrick on July 11, according to a news release.

“They want to require Upper Klamath to be held at an unprecedented and artificially high elevations for suckers year-around,” said Brad Kirby, president of the association and the association’s operations committee chairman, in a news release. “I wouldn’t expect there to be any water at all available for Klamath Project irrigation and wildlife refuges until there are new biological opinions, which is not expected until 2020.”

The water users’ motion to have the Klamath Tribes law suit dismissed must be heard before the federal court can rule on the preliminary injunction, according to the news release.

Klamath Water Users Association is concerned that if the preliminary injunction is granted by Judge William Orrick, the Klamath Project could be shut off, off and on, starting this July until 2020, as well as potentially no water for refuges, according to a news release.




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              Page Updated: Sunday June 10, 2018 04:15 PM  Pacific

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