Seems like everyone's getting the idea that the public is interested in the actual rulings themselves. From IndyBay, here's yesterday's order from U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill lifting a temporary restraining order and denying the preliminary injunction request that sought to prevent "flow augmentation releases" (San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Jewell, 13-1232-LJO-GSA, E.D. Ca.) (Order from ESWR's page).
http://www.chicoer.com/news/ci_23924747/federal-judge-oks-higher-water-flows-into-trinity (Damon Arthur, Redding Record-Searchlight)
Although a court's analysis of likelihood of success in the context of an injunctive relief request is governed by the deferential APA's arbitrary and capricious standard, see Lands Council, 537 F.3d at 987; Ranchers Cattlemen, 415 F.3d at 1093, a court does not always owe deference to federal agencies' positions concerning irreparable harm, balance of hardships, or public interest. In Sierra Forest Legacy v. Sherman, 646 F.3d 1161, 1186 (9th Cir. 2011), decided in the context of a motion for a post-judgment permanent injunction, the Ninth Circuit held that a district court “abused its discretion by deferring to agency views concerning the equitable prerequisites of an injunction.” The Ninth Circuit reasoned that “[e]cology is not a field within the unique expertise of the federal government,” and remanded for analysis “without deference” to the agency's experts “simply because of their relationships with the agency.” Id. If government experts “were always entitled to deference concerning the equities of an injunction, substantive relief against federal government policies would be nearly unattainable.” Id. It is not clear whether this standard applies to pre-judgment motions for temporary and/or preliminary injunctive relief. Even if it does, there are no real disputes among the scientific experts in this case.
Both sides o this dispute represent significant public interests. Federal Defendants and Defendant Intervenors correctly point out that the federal government has invested large sums of money into the restoration of the fisheries in question. Yet, it is equally true that the government has and continues to invest in the long-term viability of agriculture in the Central Valley. Neither side holds veto power over the other. Nevertheless, on balance, considering the significantly lower volume of water now projected to be involved and the potential and enormous risk to the fishery of doing nothing, the Court finds it in the public interest to permit the augmentation to proceed.