Environmental Law & Policy Alerts – Update from Somach, Simmons & Dunn

January 21, 2021

Bureau of Reclamation Updates Its Approach to ESA Section 7 Consultations for Klamath Project Operations, Applying Recent Legal Authorities and New Solicitor Guidance

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) released three documents related to its consultation obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for its operation of the Klamath Project (Project) in south-central Oregon and northern California.  The analysis and conclusions contained in these comprehensive and technical documents significantly change Reclamation’s approach to ESA compliance when operating the Project.  The new analysis was issued in response to a November 12, 2020 letter by the Secretary of Interior calling for a review of contracts with Project water users and other legal authorities governing the Project, as well as an October 28, 2020 memorandum (October 2020 Solicitor Guidance) from the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Solicitor (Solicitor) giving preliminary guidance on questions concerning Reclamation’s authority with respect to certain components of Project operations. … Read More

Written by Brittany K. Johnson and Ramsey L. Kropf