The U.S. Interior Department has rejected a request to convene the cabinet-level Endangered Species Committee — known as the “God Squad” — to consider whether allocating water to farmers in the Klamath River Basin on the Oregon-California border should rank above saving several species of fish. Farmers in the region have protested a move by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to allot all of its water to protect endangered suckerfish and threatened coho salmon. But in a letter released on Friday, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said that the local irrigation districts that wanted the BuRec decision overturned did not have standing under federal law to request that the committee be convened. The God Squad, which has the power to overrule provisions of the Endangered Species Act to protect human economic interests, has been summoned only three times in the past.

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