Farmers and other water users in the Klamath Basin have finally come to the end of the legal road in their attempt to get compensation for water that was reallocated to protect endangered fish in 2001.

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a petition seeking review of a lower court decision that said tribal water rights were senior to the water users’, so there was no “taking” of their property. The case started in the Court of Federal Claims in 2001.

“The court accepts review of a very small percentage of cases,” Klamath Water Users Association Executive Director Paul Simmons said. “Still, this development is very disappointing.”

“We thought we had a decent chance, but it did not go the way we wanted,” Simmons added. “There is no choice but to move on.”

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Numerous ag groups filed amicus briefs in the Supreme Court supporting the petition, including Oregon Water Resources Congress, Family Farm Alliance, National Water Resources Association, Association of California Water Agencies, American Farm Bureau Federation and several state farm bureaus, and the counties of Klamath, Modoc, and Siskiyou.

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