Courthouse News Service
FRESNO, Calif. — With a recent victory over environmentalists in tow, the Trump administration was back in federal court again Thursday arguing it could continue boosting water to California farmers without harming salmon despite the state careening toward another drought.
The Trump administration is defending guidelines passed in 2019 that gave it more leeway in deciding how much water it can safely take from California’s largest estuary and sell to farmers. The feds claim the rules, or biological opinions, were crafted with the best scientific data and are a much-needed update to pumping limits enacted by the Obama administration in 2009.
But environmentalists and the state believe the rules were poisoned by political influence and meant to help President Donald Trump back up his campaign promise to “open up the water” to California farms. The parties have sued and are pressing a federal judge to toss the biological opinion and force a new set of environmentally sound rules.