Judge sets Feb. 22 deadline for additional filings in canal case

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du has set a February 22 deadline for additional filings regarding the City of Fernley’s petition asking her to reconsider her decision to dismiss the city’s lawsuit against the lining of the Truckee Canal.

On December 13, Du issued a ruling dismissing the City’s lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation seeking to stop the lining of a portion of the Truckee Canal through Fernley with concrete. In her dismissal ruling, Du said the City doesn’t have standing in the case because its interest in the case is economic, not environmental.

The City of Fernley filed a Motion to Amend on January 10, arguing that Fernley has legitimate claims under federal and state law.

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“There is no question that the Truckee Canal Extraordinary Maintenance Project will cause harm

to the Fernley groundwater aquifer and the citizens who rely on it,” the City argues in its motion.

The City cites Churchill County vs. Babbitt, a case where Churchill County and the City of Fallon were plaintiffs attempting to stop a federal project, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Churchill County and Fallon’s interest falls within preventing harm to the environment.

“Fernley’s interest in the environmental health of its water supply (the Fernley groundwater aquifer) is, therefore, the same as the interest asserted by both Churchill County and the City of Fallon – that of a municipal entity charged with safeguarding the lands and environment within its boundaries and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens,” the City’s motion reads.

Fernley is asking that Du allow it to amend its original Motion to Dismiss to address the environmental harms the city alleges.

The Bureau of Reclamation filed an Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion, in which it argues that the City does not present any newly discovered evidence or intervening case law, and have not shown any clear error of law or manifest injustice. The BOR’s motion said motions to amend should only be granted in “highly unusual circumstances” and cites several cases where such motions were denied.

The BOR’s Opposition asserts that “Plaintiffs wrongly claim that the Court committed clear error and that its December 13 Order was manifestly unjust,” and that Fernley has not shown that the Court made any errors of law in dismissing its complaint.

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