Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. U.S. Department of the Navy
898 F.2d 1410 (9th Cir. 1990))
The Navy instituted an
irrigation project on a base near the Truckee River.
The project used a lot of
water that would otherwise have been available downriver.
Local environmental groups
(led by the Paiute) sued for an injunction.
The Paiute argued that the
irrigation plan was inefficient, and the loss of water could affect
endangered fish in Pyramid Lake.
The Paiute argued that was a
violation of the Endangered Species Act §7.
The Trial Court found for the
Navy. The Paiute appealed.
The Trial Court found that
while §7(a)(1) imposes an
affirmative duty on non-Interior Federal agencies to use their authority
to conserve endangered species, that duty does not rise to the level of
duty imposed upon the Interior Department.
The Court held that
non-Interior agencies are entitled to "some discretion."
The Appellate Court affirmed.
The Appellate Court found
that the Navy was not required to use the 'least burdensome alternative'.
Compare to Sierra Club v. Glickman (156 F.3d 606 (1998)), which came to the opposite decision.