Judge hears oral arguments in Klamath Tribes case

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge heard arguments in a case filed by the Klamath Tribes of southern Oregon seeking greater protections for endangered sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake.

The Capital Press reports San Francisco District Judge William Orrick heard the arguments Friday in a lawsuit that requests an injunction to hold more water in the lake for shortnose and Lost River suckers, a culturally significant food for the tribes.

However, farmers and ranchers worry the injunction would shut off surface water irrigation in the Klamath Project, costing about $400 million in lost annual economic value.

Orrick did not issue a ruling, and is considering a motion to move the case to a different court. He did not give a timetable for his decision.

The lawsuit names the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service as defendants.