EUGENE, OR -- A federal judge in Eugene denied an injunction, Tuesday, by environmental groups that would have limited the water local irrigation districts could use. WaterWatch of Oregon and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a request for an immediate injunction to force districts to put more water in the Deschutes River to help the threatened spotted frog.
Attorney Joan Archer was hired by several Jefferson County farmers to attend the hearing and protect their interests. "The judge denied the motion for preliminary injunction, stating that the plaintiffs failed to meet their high burden of proof that is required when you are seeking an injunction that includes with it requirements that certain things be done - as opposed to an injunction that is designed to just preserve the status quo."
Archer adds, "[The judge] seemed to definitely praise the deliberate process that's gone on thus far in the region, and the citizens in the region, for proactively undertaking efforts related to conversation of fish and other species. She acknowledged that those activities are going on and encouraged environmental groups to continue that conversation to develop a good habitat conservation plan for the area."
Kelly Barnett of Madras was in Eugene for the hearing, along with nearly a hundred other local people. She tells KBND News, "I think it's safe to say everybody felt relief. I think, we didn't expect a favorable ruling in relation to this injunction. So, I think everyone was very pleasantly surprised at how even the whole situation was, and that we got a favorable ruling."
The environmental groups can appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.