The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1 (pdf), a spending bill, on February 19, 2011, that includes a rider to foreclose use of funds appropriated by Congress to implement Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs) developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to accompany biological opinions and jeopardy determinations made by those agencies under the federal Endangered Species Act regarding the ongoing operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project in California.  The biological opinions, jeopardy determinations, and RPAs presently are being challenged in multiple lawsuits brought in federal court.  Last year, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California held (pdf) that the FWS biological opinion (pdf) is unlawful, and the Court remanded the document to that agency.  Pending in the same Court are cross motions for summary judgment respecting the NMFS biological opinion (pdf).

The rider does not purport to amend the federal Endangered Species Act, and it also does not affect the California Endangered Species Act.  As a result, the water supply and species protection implications that would stem from enactment of the rider into law are unclear.