BISMARCK, N.D. — The United States on July 16 opposed a motion for summary judgment in a Clean Water Rule case in North Dakota federal court (North Dakota, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-59, D. N.D.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s secretary of natural resources on July 17 sent a letter to four congressmen opposing an appropriations bill rider that would preclude lawsuits involving the California WaterFix Project.
New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.
BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Two environmental groups on July 17 filed a notice that they will appeal the preliminary injunction a Georgia federal judge entered against the Clean Water Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States,” 80 Fed. Reg. 37,054 (June 29, 2015) (Georgia, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 15-79, S.D. Ga., Brunswick Div.).
CINCINNATI — Mississippi on July 6 urged a U.S. Supreme Court special master to deny a summary judgment motion by Tennessee and related defendants in an interstate groundwater dispute, saying the defendants erroneously premise their motion on the notion that the litigation involves one big aquifer instead of separate ones (Mississippi v. Tennessee, et al., No. 143, Original, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — The United States on June 28 opposed motions by New York, nine other states and two environmental groups for summary judgment striking a new federal rule that would delay the implementation of the Clean Water Rule until 2020 (State of New York et al. v. E. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 18-1030, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 18-1048, S.D. N.Y.).
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s Public Lands Commissioner on June 21 asked a state court to issue an alternative writ of mandamus requiring the state engineer to explain why he is issuing multiple permits for the temporary use of underground public waters for oil and gas fracking (State of New Mexico, ex rel. Aubrey Dunn, et al. v. Tom Blaine, et al., No. D-101-CV-2018-01830, N.M. Dist., Santa Fe Co.).
DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on June 25 said Coors Brewing Co. may not reuse water it draws from streams without first seeking a new water right (Coors Brewing Co. v. City of Golden, No. 2018 CO 63, Colo. Sup., 2018 CO 63).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Parties in a California groundwater dispute on June 18 told a federal judge that despite three mediation sessions, they were unable to reach a resolution (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al. v. Coachella Valley Water District, et al., No. 13-883, C.D. Calif.).
ALBURUERQUE, N.M. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on July 3 asked a New Mexico federal judge to reconsider his June 6 order and grant final judgment against WildEarth Guardians in the environmental group’s lawsuit claiming the Corps’ operation of the Middle Rio Grande Project is harming an endangered fish and bird on the Rio Grande River (WildEarth Guardians v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, et al., No. 14-666, D. N.M.).
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Court of Appeals panel on June 14 affirmed a lower court ruling that a water rights holder cannot assert a diligence claim to expand an original water right and that he and his predecessor did not timely object to an adjudication years earlier (Utah State Engineer, et al. v. Evan Johnson, No. 20160547, Utah App., 2018 Utah App. LEXIS 130).
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — The U.S. Forest Service on June 27 said it has issued a new three-year occupancy permit to Nestle Water North America to take water from the Strawberry Creek watershed in the San Bernardino National Forest.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The province of Manitoba and the U.S. Interior Department on June 22 told the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they resolved Manitoba’s 16-year-old lawsuit over the Canadian province’s participation in the operation of the Northwest Area Water Supply (NAWS) project (Manitoba, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 17-5241, D.C. Cir.).
BOZEMAN, Mont. — The Montana Water Court on June 19 adopted a special master’s report rejecting objections to five water right claims for alleged nonuse (Gene J. Klamert, No. 40B-1, Mont. Water, Lower Missouri Div., 2018 Mont. LEXIS 4).
FRESNO, Calif. — A California appeals court on July 9 affirmed that an environmental group’s effort to get a reservoir in Yosemite National Park torn down is preempted by federal law and that the statute’s savings clause does not allow the effort to be rescued by state water law (Restore Hetch Hetchy v. San Francisco, et al., No. F074107, Calif. App., 5th Dist.).
LOS ANGELES — The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWDSC) on July 10 took a new vote to supply $10.8 billion to fully fund the California WaterFix project.
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal judge on July 3 denied a motion by a rancher to stay the United States’ collection of a $587,294 judgement for unauthorized grazing of cattle on federal land (United States v. Wayne N. Hage, et al., No. 07-1154, D. Nev., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110689).
PHOENIX — An Arizona state appeals court panel on July 3 said three water users cannot appeal an administrative law judge’s finding that their water rights are not adversely affected by the state’s issuance of water permits to another water user’s group (Paloma Irrigation & Drainage District v. Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association, No. CA-CV-17-0215, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2018 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 966).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A special master overseeing a longstanding water rights dispute between Florida and Georgia employed “too strict a standard” when determining that Florida must show by clear and convincing evidence that an appropriate equitable decree is possible, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 27 (Florida v. Georgia, No. 142 Original, U.S. Sup.).
BISMARCK, N.D. — Fifteen business and agricultural associations on June 12 filed an amicus curiae brief in a North Dakota federal court in support of a motion by 14 states for summary judgment against the Clean Water Rule (North Dakota, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-59, D. N.D.).