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Browsing the archives for the Lawsuits category.

Citizens File Lawsuit Against State of California

JEFFERSON DECLARATION, Lawsuits, Liberty

May 3, 2017

Citizens for Fair Representation (CFR) will file a lawsuit against the State of California for lack of representation and dilution of vote. CFR represents citizens from 21 rural counties in the northern area of the State. A long list of plaintiffs have joined CFR in the lawsuit, representing a diversity of cultures, ages, races and political philosophy.

Over the last 3 years, most of these plaintiffs have petitioned the California State Legislature and Secretary of State seeking equal/fair representation, Tens of thousands of letters, phone calls and emails have gone out to their elected representatives, requesting they introduce a Bill or Resolution, creating a more representative balance in both legislative chambers. The plaintiffs have personally visited individual legislative offices, but plaintiffs claim that all requests have gone ignored, leaving them no choice but to now enter the legal process.

Currently, California’s population is just under 40 million, represented by 40 State Senators and 80 Assembly members. The same number of elected representatives that in 1862 represented 416,640 people.

Prior to 1964, just about every County was represented by one State Senator. Today a California State Senator represents an average of 1 million people, with each assembly member, representing 500,000. Currently, 11 northern rural counties have one Senator whose vote is diluted by 15 senators representing the single County of Los Angeles.

California’s imbalance of representation ranks the worst on the list of 50 States. The small state of New Hampshire has 400 in their State House of Representatives, with one representative for less than 4,000 people. There are 24 State Senators, or 1 for every 55,000 citizens. New Hampshire’s ratio of balance closely models the representation that CFR is seeking to accomplish. If CFR is successful, this would be history in the making, not only for their 21 counties, but all of California’s 58 counties and those in other states.

Claimants state, “California’s refusal to increase its levels of representation to reflect its exponential population growth is both arbitrary and unconstitutional. “

The case, Citizens for Fair Representation vs Secretary of State Alex Padilla, will be filed on May 8th, in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division. Citizens for Fair Representation is a 501(C)(4), a non profit corporation.

# # # Attention News Editors: For interviews or more information, please call Mark Baird, 530-227-6729, Terry Rapoza, 530-246-9706.

Terry Gherardi, CfFR Public Information Officer – 530-677-4294

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Water squeeze in Oregon’s Klamath Basin pits ranchers against tribes, both with strong ties to the land

Agriculture, cattle, Klamath Tribe, Lawsuits, Water rights

PNP comment: This is a fairly good background article on the lawsuit and eventual settlement in favor of the Klamath Tribes being allowed to take other water right users’ water allotments away. — Editor Liz Bowen

Oregon Live.com

By Scott Learn, The Oregonian
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on July 06, 2013 at 12:00 PM, updated July 08, 2013 at 6:30 AM

SPRAGUE RIVER — A summer evening on Jim and Caren Goold’s  front porch. The river meanders through their cow pasture, a curly blue ribbon framed by foothills dotted with ponderosa pine. And, yes, the cattle are lowing.

It’s about as pastoral as a scene gets. But the upper Klamath Basin, already three months into a drought emergency, is far from peaceful this summer.

Two parties with strong ties to the land, the upper basin ranchers and The Klamath Tribes, are pitted against each other for limited water, the latest skirmish in one of the nation’s most persistent water wars. And deep historical divisions stand in the way of compromise.

In late June, a state watermaster handed Jim Goold a yellow card ordering him to shut off irrigation for the first time in his 40 years on the 617-acre ranch.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” Caren Goold says. “We have all this wonderful water going by and we can’t touch any of it.”

The Goolds worry they’ll lose pasture for 300-plus cows, their income and their ranch, where Jim’s parents are buried out back. They see a future land grab through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, with land values falling as irrigation water evaporates.

Here’s where history’s twists come in. Much of the upper basin, including the Goolds’ ranch, was once The Klamath Tribes‘ reservation land. The federal government “terminated” the tribes in 1954, a move that included cash payouts, but is widely seen as a tribal disaster.

This year, fortunes sharply changed. The state of Oregon ruled that the tribes’ “time immemorial” water rights on the former reservation remain intact, giving the tribes a firm upper hand. Last month, tribal leaders called their water rights to sustain their hunting and fishing grounds, triggering the shutoffs.

Twenty miles down Sprague River Road, at the tribes’ offices in Chiloquin, Perry Chocktoot  talks about his own attachment to the land, too. He grew up hunting and fishing here. His grandmother taught him how to smoke and can fish –110 minutes, 15 pounds of pressure.

Chocktoot, the tribes’ cultural and heritage director, says court cases and water rights decisions should have warned the ranchers what was coming. But too many of them view Indians as “drunken idiots,” he says. “And, guess what, we’re not.”

“We’re here by the gift of our creator to help the community,” he says. “That mindset has never been reciprocal. They had a chance to effectively work with the tribes, but they said not just no, but hell no.”

Dry times

Absent a judicial reprieve or a settlement, the water rights decision means irrigation with river water will be shut off to hundreds of ranchers this summer, shriveling pasture for 70,000 to 100,000 cattle.

GS.10025953A_GR.KLAMATHFALLS-02.jpgView full size

So far, state watermasters have shut off water to roughly 300 irrigators on the Sprague and Williamson rivers, with more tributaries of Upper Klamath Lake still to be evaluated.

It’s an echo of Klamath water fiasco a decade ago.

In 2001, the U.S. government cut off water to irrigators who tap Upper Klamath Lake as part of the century-old federal reclamation project. The shutoff stemmed from Endangered Species Act listings of coho salmon and two species of suckers and strict ESA requirements on federal projects.

The next year, with intervention from Dick Cheney, the farmers got water instead, and 30,000 chinook salmon died in the lower Klamath River.

That crisis pushed project farmers to negotiate with the tribes, federal and state governments and others to share water and restore riverside habitat. The 2008 Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement was coupled with a plan to remove four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River by 2020, which would be the largest dam removal in U.S. history.

But this year is different. Cattle ranchers above the lake, outside the reclamation project, were free to irrigate despite the ESA listings — until this year’s water rights decision.

Many of the ranchers are still fighting, in court and on the streets. On Monday, they rallied in Klamath Falls, driving cattle trucks down Main Street.

They also have challenged the water rights decisions in Klamath County circuit court, asking for a stay this summer. They say the state gave the tribes more water than they need to support hunting and fishing habitat.

The tribes’ water calls would reduce irrigation even in normal water years, the ranchers argue. State officials figure tribal rights fall well below normal streamflows, but the ranchers think the state’s flow estimates are too high.

Roger Nicholson, who leads two ranching groups, raises cattle on 3,000 acres near Fort Klamath. Some of that land came from tribal members, he says, but most has been in his family since the 1890s.

The tribes’ water calls affect his draw even on streams outside the former reservation, he says, since those flows are needed to meet the water rights the tribes won downstream.

The water rights decisions were “a travesty of justice,” Nicholson says, and the shutoffs are “an economic catastrophe beyond compare.” Affected ranches cover more than 100,000 acres, ranching groups estimate.

“It’s bankrupting a whole community,” Nicholson says.

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2013/07/water_squeeze_in_oregons_klama.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Alaska sues federal government, contending state controls riverbed, not BLM

Bureau of Land Management, CORRUPTION, Federal gov & land grabs, Lawsuits, Liberty, State gov

Free Range Report.com

April 23, 2017

In its complaint, Alaska said it gained title to submerged lands and navigable waters when it acquired statehood, unless the federal government made any claims prior. The state said the federal government based its claim to ownership on a 1984 administrative decision of the Alaska office of federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Chris Ford

Frontiersman.com

Alaska files lawsuit over Knik River ownership

WASILLA — The state of Alaska filed suit against the federal government this week over a land ownership dispute regarding submerged Knik River lands.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

According to a spokesperson from state attorney general Jahna Lindemuth’s office, Alaska wants to assert ownership after failed past attempts to have the United States recognize Alaska ownership of the riverbed.

According to documents filed in federal district court for the District of Alaska, the United States in 2015 conveyed ownership of portions of the Knik River to Eklutna Inc. On its website, Eklutna, Inc. states it owns significant holdings in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, with approximately 67,000 additional acres due to be conveyed from the Bureau of Land Management. It also owns 90,000 acres within the Municipality of Anchorage, including areas of Eagle River, Birchwood, Chugiak, Peters Creek and Eklutna.

“Such action casts a cloud a cloud over the state’s title,” legal document filings by the state said. “In bringing this lawsuit, the State of Alaska seeks to confirm and retain its right to manage its own lands and waters…the United States claims ownership of other lands in dispute vial this complaint because of its ownership of lands abutting the Knik River.”

In its complaint, Alaska said it gained title to submerged lands and navigable waters when it acquired statehood, unless the federal government made any claims prior. The state said the federal government based its claim to ownership on a 1984 administrative decision of the Alaska office of federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). That office concluded the stretch of river is not navigable.

The BLM amended the decision in 2002. In September of 2015, relying on its 2002 decision, the BLM issued a decision approving certain lands — chosen by Eklutna Inc. for conveyance to the corporation which represents approximately 175 shareholders, according to its website. It is an Alaskan corporation created under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act for the Native village with the same name.

This month, the state, BLM and Eklutna officials entered into a settlement agreement to resolve state public easement concerns. BLM has indicated it would review its decision in portions within and adjacent to the disputed bottomland areas.

“This case is an important step towards clarifying ownership and access rights for the Knik River,” Lindemuth said. “I would have preferred to avoid litigation, but the federal government refused to recognize the state’s rights to these lands and waters. We are hoping that filing litigation will spur the federal government to quickly overturn its prior decision.”

The state is also seeking to recover costs and attorney fees in the case. Federal officials have yet to respond to the court.

Alaska sues federal government, contending state controls riverbed, not BLM

 

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Sacramento County reeling from jury’s $107 million verdict against it in mining case

Lawsuits, Mining

March 22, 2017

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Court sides with Auburn tribe over former chairwoman’s ouster

Lawsuits, Tribes

Sac bee.com

The ruling by the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, responding to a bitter 2013 clash in one of California’s wealthiest casino tribes and ensuing litigation, effectively rejected claims that the tribe “imposed unlawful restraints” on the “liberty” of Tavares and three other members by cutting off their income and banning them from United Auburn properties.

In October, 2013, Tavares and the other members brought legal action, filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento as a writ of habeas corpus under the 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act. She charged that the tribal council for the United Auburn Indian Community wrongly denied her $40,000 a month in benefits and bonuses, based on casino profits, and illegally banished her for 10 years.

Tavares was stripped of payments for 3 1/2 years, starting in 2011, reduced by the tribe from an original sanction of four years. The others were denied payments of $30,000 and up for five months and given a two-year banishment, a punishment since expired.

Tavares and the other plaintiffs – Dolly Suehead, Barbara Suehead and Donna Caesar – were part of an unsuccessful recall effort against five tribal council members that focused on the dissidents’ protests over what they charged were excessive legal fees paid to the firm of tribal attorney Howard Dickstein. The lawyer contended he had provided “a phenomenal net benefit to the tribe.”

The 9th Circuit upheld a district court ruling that rejected the Tavares’ faction’s habeas corpus claim on grounds that federal courts lacked authority to intervene in internal tribal politics.

“We ground our opinion in two fundamental principles in the Indian law canon – tribal sovereignty and congressional primacy in Indian affairs,” wrote Judge M. Margaret McKeown in the court’s decision. “We have long recognized that Indian tribes are ‘distinct, independent communities, retaining their original natural rights.’ 

In a partial dissent, Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw supported the ruling that the court couldn’t intervene by overturning the tribe’s financial sanctions against the members. But Wardlaw wrote that United Auburn’s continuing 10-year-banishment order against Tavares “severely restrains her liberty and constitutes ‘detention’ under the Indian Civil Rights Act” and, thus can be overturned by the courts.

“Taveras presents us with precisely the kind of case over which Congress intended to establish federal jurisdiction: having exercised her right to free expression,” Wardlow wrote, adding “Tavares suffered retaliation … in the form of ‘severe restrains on individual liberty’ not shared by other members of her tribe.”

According to court documents, Tavares and the other members were sanctioned for claims in their recall petition that raised “a litany of allegations” against tribal council members, including ‘financial mismanagement, retaliation, electoral irregularity (and) denial of due process.’ 

The tribal council ruling, which banned the members from tribal events, offices and properties other than the members’ own homes, was also imposed because the tribal government ruled the Taveres’ faction wrongfully took its grievances to the news media, including The Sacramento Bee in “a sensationalized publicity stunt.”

Tavares served as chairwoman of the tribe for many years. She led the group when it opened its wildly successful casino on Highway 65 in 2003.

Read it here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article138501293.html#storylink=cpy

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Judge dismisses lawsuit against grazing on eight Oregon allotments

Agriculture, cattle, Courts, Endangered Species Act, Lawsuits, Liberty

PNP comment: Finally, a judge that makes some sense from outrageous claims — the claims are just plain wrong! — Editor Liz Bowen

A federal judge has rejected arguments that cattle grazing hurts endangered sucker fish in violation of forest management law.

Capital Press

Mateusz Perkowski

Published on March 11, 2017 2:39PM

A federal judge has rejected environmentalist arguments that cattle grazing has unlawfully harmed endangered sucker fish in Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forest.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke has thrown out a lawsuit by three environmental groups — Oregon Wild, Friends of Living Oregon Waters and the Western Watersheds Project — which claimed that grazing was unlawfully authorized on eight allotments in the Lost River watershed.

The plaintiffs accused the U.S. Forest Service of “ignoring widespread evidence of riparian problems” that adversely affected the Lost River sucker and shortnose sucker, which are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act.

However, the judge has ruled that plaintiffs failed to prove that grazing degraded streams in violation of the National Forest Management Act.

Conditions have improved in many riparians areas despite continued grazing while recovery trends are “not significantly different” among sites that are grazed and those that are not, Clarke said.

“This would tend to indicate grazing is not the reason for any failure to attain (riparian management objectives) in streams found on the challenged allotments,” he said.

While the environmental groups have pointed to evidence of deterioration along portions of some creeks, they haven’t shown “watershed level” and “landscape-scale” failures to live up to fish-recovery objectives, Clarke said.

The “creek-specific observations” by environmental groups aren’t enough to “successfully rebut” the Forest Service’s interpretation of the data, he said.

“Finally, many of the creek assessments plaintiffs point to as evidence of a failure to attain (riparian management objectives) actually show improving or stable trends,” the judge said.

The Forest Service’s decision to authorize grazing on the eight allotments was based on “reasonably gathered and evaluated data” related to fish recovery strategies mandated under the National Forest Management Act, he said.

Clarke also dismissed the plaintiffs’ Endangered Species Act arguments, ruling they were moot because future grazing approvals will rely on a new consultation among federal agencies on the two fish species.

The environmental groups’ claims of National Environmental Policy Act violations were likewise dismissed because the plaintiffs hadn’t fully “exhausted” administrative challenges against grazing plans, the ruling said.

New information that’s emerged about threats to the fish and their critical habitat doesn’t rise to the level of requiring additional environmental analysis of grazing, Clarke said.

For example, although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reached the “alarming” conclusion that shortnose suckers face a “high degree of threat of extinction,” this finding doesn’t influence the Forest Service’s assessment of grazing, he said.

“While FWS concluded that significant threats to shortnose suckers’ viability remain and thus that their chance of extinction is high, it did not identify grazing as one of those threats; in fact, it made no mention of grazing at all,” the judge said.

http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20170311/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-against-grazing-on-eight-oregon-allotments

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Bundy: FBI agents under investigation for possible misconduct in LaVoy Finicum shooting

Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, Constitution, CORRUPTION, Courts, CRIMINAL, LaVoy Finicum, Lawsuits

PNP comment: This is not too bad of an article for the typically-left OregonLive. But, it does need to be remembered that Ryan Bundy still has a bullet in his arm and he was sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle. It is now believed that LaVoy left the vehicle to draw FBI sniper fire away from those who were in the vehicle. — Editor Liz Bowen

By Les Zaitz |

The Oregonian/OregonLive
Email the author
on March 08, 2016 at 10:10 AM, updated January 26, 2017 at 12:15 PM

BEND – An FBI agent is suspected of lying about firing twice at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum and may have gotten help from four other FBI agents in covering up afterward, authorities revealed Tuesday.

The bullets didn’t hit Finicum and didn’t contribute to his death, but now all five unnamed agents, part of an elite national unit, are under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Inspector General Michael Horowitz is leading the independent inquiry.

The remarkable disclosure came as a team of local investigators released findings that two state troopers shot Finicum three times in the back during the chaotic scene at a police roadblock Jan. 26. One bullet pierced his heart, an autopsy showed.

A prosecutor ruled the fatal shooting was legally justified, saying state law allows use of deadly force when officers believe a person is about to seriously injure or kill someone. Finicum kept moving his hands toward a pocket that contained a loaded handgun. Although he was shot from behind, Finicum had a trooper in front of him armed with a Taser who was thought to be in danger.

Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum’s death is investigated: What was found

Finicum, 54, an Arizona rancher, was one of the leaders of the Jan. 2 takeover of  the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns.

Investigators gave no details to explain why the one FBI agent, a member of the Hostage Rescue Team, wouldn’t report the two shots. They also didn’t indicate what his four colleagues did to warrant investigation other than saying it was related to conduct after the shooting.

“The question of who fired these shots has not been resolved,” said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Portland. The federal agency is cooperating with the inspector general’s investigation, he said at a news conference.

The revelation is certain to inflame suspicions about Finicum’s death and shake confidence in the FBI, which came under intense fire for botched handling of violent sieges at Ruby Ridge in Idaho and Waco, Texas.

Some supporters have claimed Finicum was shot while surrendering, that he was unarmed and that he was shot nine times. The sheriff in neighboring Grant County, Glenn Palmer, described the police operation as an “ambush.”

Finicum’s family said in a statement a month ago that he was “executed in cold blood” and accused police agencies of deliberately misleading the public about what happened. His widow, Jeanette Finicum, didn’t retreat from that stance after watching the news conference.

“My husband was murdered,” she said in a statement.

The attorney for Ammon Bundy, the occupation’s now-jailed leader, found the  news of the FBI shots troubling.

“I’m going to have to go back and reconsider all the conspiracy theories that I’ve written off,” said the lawyer, Mike Arnold.

Investigators had planned to release police reports, interview transcripts, photographs, the autopsy report and new video to allow the public to evaluate the police findings in Finicum’s death.

But they ended up releasing only one video and 19 photographs, citing the new criminal investigation for the change in plans. They also withheld the names of the involved troopers and FBI agents, saying they’ve tracked up to 80 threats against them, mostly on social media.

Document: Text of announcement of findings

The shooting happened after police stopped a Jeep and a pickup carrying the key figures of the occupation along a remote stretch of U.S. 395 north of Burns.

Finicum was driving the truck that carried carried Ryan C. Bundy, 43, Ryan W. Payne, 32, Shawna Cox, 59, and Victoria Sharp, 18. In the Jeep behind them was driver Mark McConnell, 37, Brian D. Cavalier, 44, and Ammon Bundy, 40, the public face of the occupation. They were bound for a community meeting 100 miles north of the refuge in John Day.

Officer statements and cellphone video taken by Cox from inside the truck showed that Finicum repeatedly ignored police orders, first at the traffic stop and then after he crashed trying to elude officers. He nearly ran over an FBI agent before stalling in a roadside snowbank.

What happened in just seconds after that crash could lead to criminal charges against the FBI agents.

Cox’s video showed that one shot hit the truck’s left rear passenger window as Finicum stepped out. At the time, Finicum appeared to have his hands at least at shoulder height.

http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/03/oregon_standoff_fbi_agents_und.html

 

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Oregon counties sue over Cascade-Siskiyou expansion

Federal gov & land grabs, Lawsuits

Herald and News.com

Oregon Public Broadcasting

February 16, 2017

In his last days in office, President Obama expanded the Cascade-Siskiyou National monument on the Oregon-California border.

Now, a group of counties that gets revenue from logging lands within the monument boundaries is suing the federal government.

Tim Freeman, president of the Association of O&C Counties and a Douglass County commissiner, said the lost revenue will lead to fewer county services “like public health and mental health and libraries and museums and law enforcement and really creating important livability for communities around the state.”

Freeman said it’s unclear if the Trump administration could eliminate the monument entirely, but he hopes the administration could shrink it.

MORE

http://www.heraldandnews.com/news/local_news/oregon-counties-sue-over-cascade-siskiyou-expansion/article_50104590-5923-5bd6-b5f6-8226247acb7f.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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PLF, farmers, and ranchers challenge state’s ‘endangered’ listing of gray wolf

Agriculture - California, Lawsuits, Liberty, Wolves

Press Release from Pacific Legal Foundation

Jan. 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA;  January 31, 2017:  The California Fish and Game Commission has neglected sound scientific analysis, undermined sensible wildlife protections — and violated state law — by unjustifiably adding the gray wolf to the state’s list of “endangered” species.


Damien M. Schiff
Principal Attorney

So argues a lawsuit filed today by Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and the California Farm Bureau Federation.  Filed in California Superior Court, the lawsuit challenges the commission’s listing of the gray wolf under the California Endangered Species Act.  The listing took effect on January 1, 2017, a little over a year after a divided commission approved it on a controversial 3-1 vote.

WATCH A TWO-MINUTE VIDEO

A listing based on flimsy evidence and deliberate undercounting

The lawsuit challenges the gray wolf listing as illegal on three grounds:

1) The listing is based on flimsy evidence.  The listing process was triggered by a single wolf crossing the Oregon border in 2011 — and that wolf has since wandered out of California.  Never before has a listing been initiated by a single animal’s occasional wanderings into the state.  This is why the state Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended against listing.

2)  Regulators undercounted the gray wolf’s numbers.  In violation of the California ESA, the commission looked only at the wolf’s numbers in California, ignoring healthy wolf populations elsewhere.  Indeed, the wolf’s overall status has improved to the point that the federal government is moving toward removing the species from its own “endangered” list.

3)  The gray wolf is not covered by the law.  The California ESA is limited to native species and subspecies.  Yet the gray wolves addressed by this listing are originally from Canada; they represent a subspecies that was never historically present in California.

PLF statement:  The listing is bad science, bad policy, and bad law

“The Fish and Game Commission took a big bite out of its own credibility with this unjustified listing,” said PLF Principal Attorney Damien Schiff.  “The agency managed to label the gray wolf as ‘endangered’ only by myopically and illegally ignoring its populations outside California.

“Moreover, the listing is destructive as a matter of public policy,” Schiff continued.  “To begin with, it creates dangers for Northern California ranchers, farmers, and their local economies.  If gray wolves begin to establish themselves after a long absence from California, regulators should be working with landowners on balanced policies that can protect sheep, cattle, and people with minimal harm to wolves.  Instead, the rigid regulations under an ‘endangered’ listing hamstring property owners and make cooperative solutions impossible.

“Gray wolves were already protected as a ‘non-game mammal,’ an arrangement that allowed flexible control,” he added.  “In contrast, the ‘endangered’ listing makes it next to impossible for landowners to get permits even to physically remove a wolf that is threatening their animals. Even state officials would run into red tape if they were to try to capture or kill a wolf.

“Finally, this listing means California wildlife could end up as wolf prey,” Schiff said.  “It is ironic, and outrageous, that by wrongly moving to safeguard a non-native wolf species, the state is endangering animals that are native to the state and that regulators should be protecting.”

The listing harms members of both Farm Bureau and CCA

The California Cattlemen’s Association is a nonprofit trade organization representing California’s ranchers and beef producers in policy matters.  CCA has 34 county affiliates and over 2,400 members, including more than 1,700 cattle producers.  California Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest farm organization, composed of 53 county farm bureaus representing more than 48,000 agricultural, associate, and collegiate members in 56 counties.

MORE

https://www.pacificlegal.org/release-1-31-17-gray-wolf-cca-1-1482

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Klamath BOR farmers: ‘Takings’ case moves to Washington, D.C. venue

Agriculture, Biologists for hire, CA & OR, Constitution, CORRUPTION, Courts, CRIMINAL, Federal gov & land grabs, Klamath Project - BOR, Lawsuits, Liberty

PNP comment: The two below articles are of great importance. The right outcome will be a major pushback on the ESA and the corrupt practices government agencies and bureaucrats use to become tyrants over private property. — Editor Liz Bowen

Holly Dillemuth

  • Jan 20, 2017

  • Herald and News.com

Klamath Basin irrigators are taking their case to a higher court.

A historic case on the ramifications of a major water shutoff to Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators in 2001 will be heard at trial from local farmers or their attorneys starting Monday, Jan. 30 in Washington, D.C.

Local water attorney Bill Ganong, who is among the first of the local group to board a flight out of Klamath Falls on Jan. 26 for the trip, has been anticipating it for more than a decade. Ganong serves as special counsel for the more than 20 who will testify during the hearing, which could last up to three weeks.

“It’s been a long journey,” Ganong said at his law office downtown last week.“We were planning on it at about 2005.”

The ‘Takings’ case

The journey will take the local group to Washington, D.C. to share testimony in what is being called the “takings” case at the U.S. Federal Court of Claims. The trial begins with testimony from area irrigators about the impact of the 2001 water shutoff to their operations.

In April 2001, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and National Marine Fisheries Service issued biological opinions declaring that water diverted from Upper Klamath Lake by Klamath Project irrigators would endanger suckers and coho salmon, citing the Endangered Species Act.

“The agencies cannot say, ‘Don’t do it,’” Ganong said. “They can just say, ‘If you do it, here’s what’s going to happen. And then the law says, no U.S. person can allow that to happen.”

The 2001 water shutoff decision prompted the historic Klamath Bucket Brigade, a protest that drew widespread attention to the Klamath Basin. On May 7, 2001, thousands of people gathered in downtown Klamath Falls, forming a line from Lake Ewauna in Veterans Memorial Park, up Main Street, to the A Canal bridge at Crater Lake Parkway and Esplanade Avenue, to drop 50 buckets of water — one for each state in the U.S. — into the canal.

“It was a statement and it worked,” Ganong said. “It was national, live television.”

No water

Irrigation water remained shut off to Basin farmers between April and July 2001, available only at minimum levels for stock water.

“It bankrupted a lot of people or financially put them in a position where they had to sell or go find a different trade or a different occupation,” Ganong said.

Now, Klamath Basin irrigators will get their day in court.

“All of them have a story,” Ganong said.

Those attending from Klamath Falls and the surrounding areas hope to utilize their time in the nation’s capital to also meet with the Oregon congressional delegation, Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and congressman Greg Walden.

“The people who are going back, some of them are just giddy almost,” Ganong said. “They’ve been waiting so long and to finally have it come to trial … it’s a big deal. It’s just a big deal.”

A long time coming, ‘too late’ for some

But not everyone can make the trip.

“We had to go through a process to add some witnesses who we hadn’t identified before, because some of our original people we identified have passed away or have medical or age-related issues that prevent them from traveling,” Ganong said.

“We’ve just lost a lot of people in the ag community,” Ganong added.

“It’s taken so long for these people to get to this point and hopefully compensated for what they lost. For many of them, it’s almost symbolic now.”

Ganong said farmers could expect to see a total $28 million to $30 million if a decision is handed down in their favor.

But he alluded to a favorable outcome for farmers being more than financial.

“Almost all of the farmers going back — maybe all of them — they’re third- or fourth-generation on the same farm,” Ganong said. “It is in their DNA.”

A long and difficult road

Ganong detailed a lengthy history of the case, which passed through the hands of two previous judges, and now is now in the hands of a third.

“The first judge for approximately four or five years, apparently had some medical conditions that interfered with her ability to perform her job as a judge,” Ganong said. “So the case got filed and it literally, it just sat. Nothing really happened for … it seems like it was four years.”

Stopping to recall the name of the judge, he couldn’t.

“It’s been too long,” Ganong said.

The judge retired and the case was assigned to the late Francis Allegra.

“In the course of the next few years, there was a lot that took place, most of it in writing motions,” Ganong said.

Claims dismissed

Ganong said Allegra dismissed the claims that said, one, the U.S. government took property from farmers, and two, that farmers were protected under the Klamath Compact.

“He ultimately decided that we didn’t have a case so he dismissed it,” Ganong said.

“In his opinion, the United States owned the water and could do whatever it wanted with it. He found it in their favor.”

An appeal to Allegra’s decision was made, and over the course of time, the case was handled by the U.S. Court of Appeals with assistance from the Oregon Supreme Court.

“That court started looking at our appeal and decided they had some questions of how Oregon law applied to this case so they then referred it to the Oregon Supreme Court and that was about a two-year detour,” Ganong said. “The Oregon Supreme Court ruling was very favorable to us.”

Oregon court ruling

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the water from the Klamath Basin was property, and that it was taken from farmers.

The court landed back in the hands of Allegra, who died in 2015.

The “takings” case has been with Judge Marian Horn since, who set a firm court date in the face of requests to continue the case further.

“She took the bull by the horns,” Ganong said.

Ganong is hopeful of a favorable outcome for farmers.

“If we prevail, then going forward, the federal government will have to weigh the cost of the decisions it makes on endangered species and other federal laws,” Ganong said.

“They haven’t had to at least consider financially the impact on the community when they withhold water or delay the delivery of water and this will turn that around.

“This will not change the law,” he emphasized. “The United States has a duty to do whatever is necessary to prevent the extinction or loss of threatening endangered species, including taking water, including taking land, including taking logging.

“What this will do is cause the United States to pay private property owners for the loss of their water or their land or their ability to harvest timber. And it could be an enormous amount of money.”

http://www.heraldandnews.com/klamath/takings-case-moves-to-washington-d-c-venue/article_b3b6e1d4-4e0d-56fa-9bc9-e34b7f9f33aa.html

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