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Consejo de Desarrollo Economico de Mexicali, A.C. v. United States

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20078
Nos. No. 06-16345, (9th Cir., 04/06/2007)

The Ninth Circuit vacated a temporary injunction halting work on a Bureau of Reclamation project to line an unlined portion of the All-American Canal with concrete. The All-American Canal is one of the world’s largest irrigation canals, carrying water from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley in California. Proponents contend the lining project will save thousands of acre-feet of water for American water users, while opponents claim that the project will unlawfully prevent water from seeping into the ground and reaching wetlands and irrigated lands in Mexico's Mexicali Valley. Community and environmental groups filed suit challenging the project, and their claims were dismissed. The Ninth Circuit then temporarily enjoined the project pending an appeal of the case. While the appeal was pending, Congress enacted and the president signed the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, which requires the project to proceed "notwithstanding any provision of law." This Act therefore renders the groups' National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Act, and Settlement Act claims moot. In addition, the district court lacks jurisdiction over the groups' takings claim, which must be asserted before the Court of Federal Claims. And the remaining claims are barred by sovereign immunity. Accordingly, the injunction must be lifted.