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Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Burman

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20247
Nos. CV 20-22-GF-KLD, (D. Mont., 10/30/2020) (DeSoto, J.)

A district court dismissed a challenge to the Bureau of Reclamation's alleged ongoing, unpermitted take of bull trout through operation of an irrigation project near Glacier National Park. An environmental group argued that the Bureau's water control and delivery structures in the St. Mary River drainage were negatively affecting the native fish population resulting in mortality of the threatened bull trout, in violation of ESA §9. The Bureau moved to dismiss for mootness, arguing that FWS' issuance of a biological opinion (BiOp) and incidental take statement (ITS) after the suit was filed exempted the agency from §9 liability. The court found that because FWS issued a BiOp and ITS governing the Bureau's predicted incidental take of bull trout, it was undisputed that the agency was not violating the ESA, and thus that the group had achieved the relief it sought and the §9 claim was moot. It therefore dismissed the suit.