DALLAS (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider a ruling that found Texas was not directly responsible for the deaths of 23 endangered whooping cranes and doesn't have to develop a conservation plan to protect the birds' habitat.
Justices on Monday declined to address the ruling last June by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The appeals court at that time overturned a district judge's ruling that Texas should have known that permits to withdraw water from rivers flowing into the Aransas and San Antonio bays would let saltier Gulf of Mexico water flow in. Environmentalists allege those actions reduced availability of key foods for the world's only natural flock of whooping cranes.
The Aransas Project, an environmental group, sued the state in 2009.
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