Description: Challenge to U.S. Forest Service authorization of upgrade project for water intake facility and construction of new water pipeline for City of Bend.
Central Oregon LandWatch v. Connaughton
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/23/2017 Memorandum Download Opinion issued upholding Forest Service action. Ninth Circuit Said Forest Service Took Hard Look at Climate Change’s Impact on Water Project. In an unpublished decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the U.S. Forest Service’s authorization of a project to upgrade a water intake facility and construct a new water pipeline on Deschutes National Forest to serve the City of Bend, Oregon. The Forest Service also authorized the City to operate the system for 20 years. The Ninth Circuit rejected the argument that the Forest Service had conducted an inadequate assessment of climate change impacts on the project and on water levels in a creek from which water was withdrawn. The Ninth Circuit said the Forest Service was not required to conduct a quantitative analysis, noting that climate change would have had the same impact on water flow as either alternative analyzed in the environmental assessment. The Ninth Circuit also said a provision for monitoring did not conflict with the Forest Service’s “hard look” obligation because the Service’s qualitative analysis of impacts was adequate on its own and the Service explained why future monitoring would allow for better evaluation of climate change and its impacts.