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Colorado River Update: Our Fight Against Glen Canyon Dam Gets Its Day in Court!

Hi Friends of the Colorado River,

Two days ago, our fight against Glen Canyon Dam got its day in court. Back in 2016, the U.S. Dept of Interior reached a Record of Decision for how the dam is managed, and we filed a lawsuit against the Dept. for failing to account for climate change in that Decision.

Our lawsuit — “Save The Colorado vs US Dept of Interior — and our fight against the dam, is inspired by our boardmember, Daniel P. Beard, who was the Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation during the Clinton administration. Dan is also the author of the groundbreaking 2014 book, Deadbeat Dams: Why we need to abolish the Bureau of Reclamation and tear down Glen Canyon Dam.

When we filed the lawsuit in 2019, Dan said, “Glen Canyon Dam is the dinosaur of the water world. We need to prepare for unprecedented low flow conditions on the Colorado River in the coming years that would drain Lake Powell.”

Dan was dead right.

Our lawsuit finally got its day in court in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Feb. 5th, where a panel of three judges heard our arguments, and then heard a response from the U.S. govt’s attorneys. Our attorney, Jamie Saul, from the Earthrise Law Center at Lewis & Clark Univ, did a stellar job answering the judges’ questions and responding to the govt’s attorney. Further, the judges all asked excellent questions, drilling right into the climate change lawsuit, when Judge Johnstone asked the govt’s attorney,

“Why isn’t the absence of the driest 30% significant to your analysis?” asked U.S. Circuit Judge Anthony Johnstone, a Joe Biden appointee. “What good is studying the variation of flows if there’s no water in it?” 
Moreover, the whole hearing was televised and recorded so you can see it! Click here to watch the hearing in San Francisco: 
We are directly confronting Glen Canyon Dam in the media, to public decisionmakers, and in the federal court system. It’s rare to see such public display of defiance play out in the court system, let alone videotaped.
The publication, Courthouse News, also posted a story about the hearing which you can read here. Two other NGOs — Living Rivers and the Center for Biological Diversity — are co-plaintiffs in our lawsuit, and we greatly appreciate their support and collaboration throughout the now 8-years of litigation!
MAKE NO MISTAKE — we are aggressive, outspoken, and litigious in our work to fight dams and protect rivers. If you ever had a question about the veracity of our work, watch the court hearing to see it play out in real time in real life.
It’s YOUR SUPPORT that keeps us in court, challenging dams, and working hard.
Thank you!!


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