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ADMINISTRATIVE LAW several california cities and water districts that receive municipal and industrial water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation have sued the U.S. and Interior Secretary Gail Norton, challenging her approval and implementation of a rate-setting policy. The cities claim that Norton’s decision “radically altered virtually all previous assumptions” on how CVP costs and charges should be determined and resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of indebtedness for CVP contractors for past deliveries that they were not required to pay under “decades” of past policy. They aver that the secretary’s decision “ignores the relevant requirements of federal reclamation law,” and “operates retroactively, notwithstanding the plaintiffs’ detrimental reliance” on past policy. They also argue that Norton’s actions exceed her federal authority and violate the plaintiffs’ civil rights. City of Fresno v. U.S., No. 03-CV-5359 (E.D. Calif. March 21). FOR PLAINTIFFS: Steven P. Saxton, David E. Lindgren, Scott L. Shapiro and Jennifer L. Harder, Downey Brand, Sacramento, Calif.

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