From the Miami Herald:
Federal protections for California's delta smelt will remain intact, but Western water controversies will keep on boiling, with a Supreme Court decision Monday not to hear farmers' ambitious challenge to a key environmental law.
The court's decision, issued without comment, effectively upholds the conclusion by a Fresno, Calif.-based trial judge and a lower appellate court that the Endangered Species Act can protect even those plants and animals that don't cross state borders.
"I'm not very surprised; I felt this was a very straightforward call," Oliver Wanger, the now-retired federal judge who issued the original ruling, said in an interview Monday. "Every circuit court in the country had previously ruled as we did."
Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Doug Obegi added in an interview that "it's always nice" to get such a straightforward, one-sentence decision.
"It reaffirms that we have the constitutional right to protect wildlife and the local communities that depend on them," Obegi said.
The Supreme Court's decision, though, frustrates farmers who have lost water supplies, as well as non-farmers who had hoped the California case could be used to whittle away at an environmental law they say has grown out of control.