SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on March 27 said it might be forced to limit participation in the ongoing California WaterFix hearing if objectors continue to make “repetitive procedural requests” and ignore the board’s prior rulings.
BROWNING, Mont. — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on March 9 signed the first authorization of funds for the Blackfeet tribe’s expenditure plan under the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act, according to a department press release.
POLSON, Mont. — A Montana trial court judge on Jan. 30 ordered that the Flathead Joint Board of Control be dissolved because its members never conducted an election according to state law (Mission Valley Irrigators United, Inc., et al. v. Flathead Joint Board of Control, et al., No. DV-16-106, Mont. Dist., Lake Co.).
HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court on Feb. 6 denied a motion by the state’s natural resources department to take supervisory control over the transfer of the Willow Creek Dam Project to a water users association (Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, et al. v. Montana Eighteenth District, et al., No. OP 17-0719, Mont. Sup., 2018 Mont. LEXIS 39).
CINCINNATI — Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan on March 6 filed a motion asking the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to summarily reverse its jurisdiction ruling in their Clean Water Rule challenge and to remand the case to a federal district court in accordance with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case (Ohio, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al., No. 16-3564, 6th Cir.).
New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The California State Water Resources Control Board violated the due process of water rights holders by issuing water curtailment notices and taking enforcement actions during the height of the state’s drought, a state court judge ruled Feb. 21 after the first phase of a trial involving eight water districts (California Water Curtailment Cases, JCCP No. 4838, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California state court judge on March 5 refused to issue a temporary restraining order against the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) for allegedly discussing the California WaterFix project in secret (Sacramento, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, No. 34-2018-80002812-CU-GDS, Calif. Super., Sacramento Co.).
CINCINNATI — Mississippi, Tennessee and Memphis on Feb. 28 submitted a joint statement of stipulated and contested facts to a U.S. Supreme Court special master hearing Mississippi’s interstate water dispute against Tennessee and Memphis (Mississippi v. Tennessee, et al., No. 143, Original, U.S. Sup.).
Colorado will pay Nebraska $4 million for Colorado’s past use of water under the Republican River Compact and the 2002 Final Settlement Stipulation, the two states announced Feb. 22.
FRESNO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Feb. 15 partially granted summary judgment in a lawsuit challenging a water transfer plan in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta but left it to the parties to work out a proposed judgment on their own and submit it to the court (AquAlliance, et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, et al., No. 15-754, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25320).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California appeals court on March 2 reversed a trial court finding that an annual fee on water rights permit and license holders was a tax rather than a valid regulatory fee and that they were unconstitutional (Northern California Water Association, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, et al., No. C075866, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 180).
BOISIE, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court on March 2 affirmed the disallowance of a late notice of claim in a water rights adjudication, agreeing with the lower court that a couple was adequately notified to assert their right or lose it (In Re: Snake River Basin Adjudication Case No. 39576, et al., Gary Eden, et al. v. Idaho, No. 44716, Idaho Sup., 2018 Ida. LEXIS 43).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on March 5 ruled that the United States may proceed with its complaint that New Mexico is violating the Rio Grande Compact by siphoning off water below the Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico (Texas v. New Mexico, et al., No. 141, Original, U.S. Sup.).
TULSA, Okla. — Parties in two Oklahoma federal Clean Water Rule cases on Feb. 28 told the court that it should hold the case in abeyance and stay all proceedings rather than administratively close the case because of a pending change to the rule at issue (Oklahoma v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-381, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-386, N.D. Okla.).
CHILOQUIN, Ore. — The Klamath Tribes on Feb. 6 said they sent a 60-day notice of their intent to sue the federal government to prevent the extinction of two fish species in Upper Klamath Lake.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 ordered Wyoming to pay Montana $20,340 plus interest for taking 1,356 acre-feet of water from the Tongue River in 2004 and 2006, ending a nearly 11-year-old interstate water dispute before the high court (Montana v. Wyoming, et al., No. 137 Original, U.S. Sup.).
HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court on Feb. 13 affirmed a water court ruling setting water volume assignments to a water rights holder (Teton Coop Canal Co. v. Teton Coop Reservoir Co., et al., No. DA 17-0092, Mont. Sup., 2018 Mont. LEXIS 32).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on Feb. 6 denied several motions to continue the second part of a public hearing on the California WaterFix Project, saying the state has not decided to scale the project down and that the SWRCB did not improperly collude with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) about the California Environmental Quality Act, Calif. Pub. Res. C. § 21000 et seq.
NEW YORK — A coalition of 11 state attorneys general on Feb. 6 asked a New York federal court to vacate the Trump administration’s recent suspension of the 2015 Clean Water Rule, saying the action was taken illegally and that allowing enforcement of the Clean Water Rule to revert back to old definitions will harm the states’ waterways (New York, et al. v. E. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 18-1030, S.D. N.Y.).