- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Environmental Law
- Date Filed: 08-13-2012
- Case #: 11-16326
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Gould for the Court; Circuit Judges Fernandez and Bea
- Full Text Opinion
The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is responsible for the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. United States Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) is responsible for the protection of the endangered humpback chub in the river. Grand Canyon Trust (Trust) is "devoted to the protection . . . of the Colorado Plateau." Each year, Reclamation must submit to Congress and the Governors of the Colorado River Basin States an annual operating plan (AOP) for the dam. Trust filed suit alleging, inter alia, that Reclamation's AOP violated both the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because Reclamation did not consult with FWS to create the plan, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) because Reclamation did not conduct an environmental impact statement or environmental analysis as part of the plan. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Reclamation. The Court found that consultation with FWS is only required when there is "discretionary Federal involvement" and because the AOP is statutorily required, it does not require consultation with FWS. Moreover, an environmental impact statement or an environmental analysis under NEPA is only required when Reclamation's actions amount to a "major Federal action" to the operating criteria for the dam, not when it documents ongoing operation and projections. AFFIRMED.