Federal Judge Oliver Wanger upset environmentalists when he temporarily lifted the restrictions to speed more water to California’s Farm Belt.
The flushing might help save the allegedly endangered 2-inch-long fish, the delta smelt.
So many lawsuits sparked by the conflict have landed on Wanger’s desk, with so many plaintiffs and so many defendants, that he merged them into one and titled his rulings “The Consolidated [salmonid, delta smelt, or whatever] Cases.”
In a searing opinion, Wanger ripped two Interior Department scientists for giving “false” and “incredible” testimony to support a “bad faith” delta smelt preservation plan.
Wanger also threw out huge chunks of the federal government’s official “biological opinion” on five different species, calling the opinion, which is a guidance document for environmental regulators, “arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful.”
Section 1 of NEPA establishes policy. & Section 2 describes penalties. Environmentalists focus solely on the latter, while ignoring the former, even though both are federal law.
Wanger says “the public policy underlying NEPA favors protecting the balance between humans and the environment,” by, according to the first purpose listed in the statute, establishing “a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment.”
Environmentalists worship NEPA as “the environment’s bill of rights” and focus almost entirely on the penalties it provides, while Wanger looks at the whole law.
In an earlier decision, for example, he excoriated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency for its to-hell-with-people policy:
“Federal defendants completely abdicated their responsibility to consider reasonable alternatives that would not only protect the species, but would also minimize the adverse impact on humans and the human environment.”
Craig Manson, general counsel of the vast Westlands Water District (and a former assistant secretary of the interior for fish and wildlife and parks), said of Wanger’s ruling on the government’s biological opinion:
“The court is again calling for sound science. The people who depend on water supplied by these projects, are entitled to the government’s best efforts supported by the best available science. The recent rulings by the court give us the best opportunity in a decade or more to make real NEPA’s policy of harmony between humans and their environment.”
Brandon Middleton, a Pacific Legal Foundation attorney, said, “The court’s willingness to recognize NEPA’s policy of ‘protecting the balance between humans and the environment’ is refreshing. For decades, environmental groups have attempted to impose their viewpoint without any consideration for the human impacts of ‘environmentalism at all costs.’ “
After reading Wanger’s opinion, Feyrer and Norris may need to consider new careers.
Judge Wanger said, “Norris may be a very reasonable person and she may be a good scientist. She may be honest, but she has not been honest with this court… I find her testimony to be that of a zealot. And I’m not overstating the case. I’m not being histrionic. I’m not being dramatic.”
In a court transcript of last week’s decision obtained by The Washington Examiner, Wanger wrote of Norris: “I find her testimony to be that of a zealot. … The suggestion by Dr. Norris that the failure to implement [her plan], that that’s going to end the delta smelt’s existence on the face of our planet is false, it is outrageous, it is contradicted by her own testimony.”
Hey Feyer, Lets Not Forget About The World’s Largest Eco-Terrorism Attack By British Petroleum.
Feyrer got worse — a ruling of “agency bad faith.”
Isn’t that a firing offense, even for a career civil servant? I asked Julie McDonald, former deputy assistant secretary of interior for fish and wildlife and parks.
“No, they don’t get fired, they get promoted,” McDonald said, citing the power of the federal “science cartel” to protect its rule over America’s environmental regulations from people like Wanger.
Wanger, who has announced his retirement, has cut a larger-than-life figure ever since he was nominated for the federal bench in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush.
He’s been called colorful, but I think red, white, and blue are the colors that fit him best.
Case 1:09-cv-00407-OWW -DLB Document 1013
- Judge Curtails Salmon Plan, Rips Fed Scientists (volokh.com)
- Wanger delivers tongue lashing to government; water users approve (fresnobeehive.com)
- More Interior Scientists Are Taking Heat (green.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Perk of being a federal judge: Wanger says no political fundraisers (fresnobeehive.com)
- SCIENCE: Judge questions honesty of Interior Department scientists. U.S. District Court judges a… (pajamasmedia.com)
- Smackdown (maxredline.typepad.com)
- Federal Judge Blocks NDAA ‘Indefinite Detention’ Legislation (crooksandliars.com)
- Is Salazar the New Holder? (pjmedia.com)