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Trinity, County of v. Andrus

Citation: 8 ELR 20129
No. No. S-77-343-PCW, 438 F. Supp. 1368/(E.D. Cal., 10/13/1977)

The court enters judgment for defendants in a suit alleging that the planned operation of the Trinity River division of the Central Valley Project in response to the 1976-1977 drought violates provisions of federal and state law. The Act authorizing the Trinity River Division directs defendants to take "appropriate" measures to preserve fish resources in the river, but plaintiff is mistaken in interpreting this to require the maintenance of pre-project fish populations. Subjecting the determination not to increase water releases into the river to limited judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act, the court holds the decision was neither in excess of defendants' statutory authority nor arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion under the grave circumstances presented by the drought. Moreover, the record indicates that defendants have satisfied the cooperation requirements of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act. The court rejects plaintiffs' argument that California law bars the diversion of water from the Trinity River division into another watershed, finding that plaintiff has failed to prove any violation of the relevant statutory provisions. Finally, the court refuses to enjoin further drawdown of Clair Engle Lake pending preparation of an environmental impact statement on the effects of such action after concluding that the term "major federal action" in the National Environmental Policy Act does not encompass continuing operation of completed facilities.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
William R. Neill, District Attorney
County of Trinity
Weaverville CA 96093
(916) 623-2031

Harold E. Rogers, Jr.
100 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94104
(415) 981-7540

Gary Widman
Hastings School of Law
198 McAllister St., San Francisco CA 94102
(415) 557-0238

Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenor Hoopa Valley Tribe of Indians
Wesley L. Barker
Mandich, Clark & Barker
2720 Arden Way, Sacramento CA 95825
(916) 487-8613

Counsel for Defendants
Richard W. Nichols, Chief Ass't U.S. Attorney
2058 Federal Bldg., 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 440-2331