Friday, February 10, 2012

Department of Interior Announces Over $11 Million in Funding for the Central Valley Project

The Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, recently announced $50 million in funding for water infrastructure projects in the West, including over $11 million in funding for the Central Valley Project (CVP).

The 2012 Spending Plan for the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages and operates the CVP, allocates over $11 million in funding to the CVP for fish screens and fish passage facilities ($4.3 million); water conservation and water delivery activities ($4 million); environmental restoration and compliance ($1.75 million); and facility operation and maintenance ($1.044 million). The remaining funds will be spent on a variety of projects throughout the West, with $30 million allocated to rural water construction projects in North Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, and elsewhere. The Bureau's 2012 budget may be found here.

Notably, the 2012 Spending Plan states that the funds for CVP-related environmental restoration and compliance will “support the completion of the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act environmental compliance processes to comply with federal district court rulings on both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinions.” As we previously reported, a federal district court concluded that the 2009 Salmonid Biological Opinion prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful and remanded the Biological Opinion back to NMFS. The same court concluded that the 2008 Delta Smelt Biological Opinion prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful and remanded that Biological Opinion back to FWS. (See related stories here and here.)

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Elizabeth Leeper or the KMTG attorney with whom you normally consult.

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