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NW Fishletter #376, December 4, 2017

[9] Court Denies Motion for Hearing on Spill and Barging

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon rejected Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association's (CSRIA) motion for an evidentiary hearing and for discovery to address the issue of how increased spill will affect the juvenile transportation program.

The court's Nov. 21 decision found CSRIA's arguments the same as ones CSRIA previously made and that the court previously discarded in the ongoing National Wildlife Federation v. National Marine Fisheries Service [01-640].

CSRIA had asserted that additional spill would reduce juvenile fish transportation and cause an associated decrease in juvenile survival and adult returns.

Simon said when the court ordered a March 2017 injunction requiring increased spill over eight dams in the Federal Columbia River Power System, it gave the parties an additional year to develop an implementation plan that considered each dam's unique configuration and operation.

"The delay in [spill] implementation was not intended to allow further litigation over the merits of the increased spill, which the court had already resolved, but over the specific level of increased spill at each dam," the judge wrote.

The court said CSRIA's motion "is nothing more than a disguised motion for reconsideration."

Simon also noted that because the court's spill order is on appeal before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the district court did not have jurisdiction to reconsider its opinion.

"Such arguments are now to be brought before the Ninth Circuit," he said. -L. B.

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