Mealey's Water Rights

  • June 24, 2020

    Oregon Appeals Court: Hydroelectric Water Right Didn’t Convert After Shutdown

    SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Court of Appeals on June 10 affirmed a trial court ruling that a hydroelectric water right had not converted to an in-stream water right after a power plant stopped making electricity (WaterWatch of Oregon v. Water Resources Department, et al., No. 279, Ore. App., 2018 Ore. App. LEXIS 1652).

  • June 23, 2020

    California Federal Judge Denies National Injunction Against Clean Water Rule

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on June 19 denied a motion by 17 states, the District of Columbia, New York City and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality for a nationwide injunction preventing the Trump administration’s 2020 Clean Water Rule from going into effect on June 22 (California, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, et al., No. 10-3005, N.D. Calif.).

  • June 23, 2020

    2020 Clean Water Rule Start Date Stayed By Colorado Federal Judge

    DENVER — A Colorado federal judge on June 19 stayed the effective date of the 2020 Clean Water Rule and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to continue to administer the 2015 Clean Water Rule in the state (Colorado v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 20-1461, D. Colo.).

  • June 22, 2020

    Tribes’ Win Intact As High Court Denies Klamath Farmers’ Cert Petition

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 22 declined to review a long-running dispute between farmers and Native American tribes over the rights to Klamath River water, letting stand a Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals victory for the tribes and the fish populations they sought to protect (Lonny E. Baley, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 19-1134, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 22, 2020

    California Appeals Court Affirms Water Board’s Drought Restrictions For 2 Species

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California appeals court on June 18 affirmed judgment against an irrigation company, finding that the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has “broad authority” to issue temporary emergency regulations to ensure adequate tributary water to protect two threatened species of fish (Stanford Vina Ranch Irrigation Company v. California, et al., No. C085762, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 558).

  • June 10, 2020

    Judge Denies Tribe’s Motion To Lift Litigation Stay In Klamath Project Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on May 29 denied a motion by a Native American tribe to lift a voluntary stay of litigation against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, finding that there is no evidence that the bureau violated the stipulation or an interim plan for maintaining water levels in the Klamath River (Yurok Tribe, et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, et al., No. 19-4405, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94484).

  • June 09, 2020

    Multiplaintiff, Interstate Or Notable Water Rights Cases

    New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.

  • June 09, 2020

    New Mexico Ranchers Ask Court To Enjoin ‘Intermittent’ From 2020 Clean Water Rule

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A cattle rancher association on May 26 asked a New Mexico federal court to enjoin a reference in the 2020 Clean Water Rule to “intermittent” waters (New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 19-988, D. N.M.).

  • June 09, 2020

    California Federal Court To Weigh Clean Water Rule Injunction At June 18 Hearing

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on May 19 scheduled a hearing for June 18 on a motion by 17 states for a preliminary injunction or stay of the 2020 Clean Water Rule, a ruling that could affect the June 22 effective date of the Trump administration’s long-sought rule (California, et al. v. Andrew R. Wheeler, et al., No. 20-3005, N.D. Calif.).

  • June 09, 2020

    Judge Denies Dismissal Of States’ Endangered Species Case Against United States

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on May 18 denied a motion by the United States to dismiss a lawsuit by 19 states, the District of Columbia and New York City challenging regulatory changes they say would weaken protection by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S. Code, § 1531 et seq. (California, et al. v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 19-6013, N.D. Calif.).

  • June 09, 2020

    EPA, Army Corps Ask For Deference In Opposing Clean Water Rule Injunction

    DENVER — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on June 8 told a Colorado federal court that their evaluation of scientific evidence and interpretation of the Clean Water Act should be given deference in opposition to a motion to enjoin the effective date of the administration’s latest Clean Water Rule (Colorado v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 20-1461, D. Colo.).

  • June 09, 2020

    Colorado Supreme Court Affirms Water Diversion Ruling, $92,000 Civil Penalty

    DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on June 8 affirmed a state water court’s grant of summary judgment and imposition of $92,000 in civil penalties against a landowner the court found illegally diverted water to three ponds (Colorado, ex rel. Kevin G. Rein, et al. v. Steven J. Jacobs, Jr., et al., No. 220 CO 50, Colo. Sup., 2020 Colo. LEXIS 539).

  • June 09, 2020

    Arizona Federal Court Denies Jurisdictional Challenge In Tribe’s Groundwater Suit

    TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona federal judge on May 12 said the court has jurisdiction under two federal laws over six plaintiffs who are being sued by a Native American tribe over their use of underground water ostensibly flowing from the Gila River (Gila River Indian Community v. Joyce Cranford, et al., No. 19-407, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89584).

  • June 08, 2020

    California Water District Stipulates To $3.43M In Fees For Endangered Species Case

    LOS ANGELES — Three environmental groups and a California water district on May 27 stipulated to a revised schedule under which the district will pay the plaintiffs $3.43 million in attorney fees, costs and interest after a bench trial enjoined district water management practices that were threatening an endangered fish (Wishtoyo Foundation, et al. v. United Water Conservation District, No. 16-3869, C.D. Calif.).

  • June 05, 2020

    Utah High Court: Trust Isn’t City ‘Inhabitant,’ Isn’t Entitled To Water Service

    SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court on May 18 affirmed two lower court rulings that a real estate trust is not an inhabitant of Salt Lake City because its property is within the city’s water district and that city is not obligated to provide water service that would foster housing development by the trust (Salt Lake City Corporation, et al. v. Mark C. Haik, et al., No. 20190091, Utah Sup., 2020 Utah LEXIS 95).

  • June 03, 2020

    U.S. Supreme Court To Consider Water Takings Petition At June 18 Conference

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 2 listed an appeal petition alleging federal taking of water in favor of Native American tribes for consideration at the court’s June 18 conference (Lonny E. Baley, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 19-1134, U.S. Sup.).

  • May 12, 2020

    Multiplaintiff, Interstate Or Notable Water Rights Cases

    New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.

  • May 12, 2020

    Water Rights Group Sues California Law Firm For Malicious Prosecution

    YREKA, Calif. — A grassroots organization and eight people on April 20 sued a California law firm for filing a malicious strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) lawsuit on behalf of a wood products manufacturer to silence their opposition to the company’s alleged water dealings with the City of Weed, Calif. (Water for Citizens of Weed California, et al. v. Curchwell White LLP, et al., No. CVCV20-387, Calif. Super., Siskiyou Co.).

  • May 12, 2020

    Judge Won’t Dismiss Enviros’ Suit Alleging Dam Releases Kill Endangered Trout

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on April 17 denied motions to dismiss two environmental groups’ lawsuit alleging that the United States is operating the Twitchell Dam in a manner that causes an unlawful “take” (kill) of Southern California steelhead trout in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper, et al. v. Santa Maria Valley Water Conservation District, et al., No. 19-8696, C.D. Calif.).

  • May 12, 2020

    5 10th Circuit Judges Dissent, Say Court Should Rehear Riparian Boundary Case

    DENVER — Five judges of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 10 dissented about the denial of an en banc rehearing because only two surviving members of an original panel voted against rehearing the case that the circuit chief judge calls “a panel decision that could single handedly dry up thousands of acres of irrigated Wyoming farmland” (C. Mark Cupps, et al. v. Pioneer Canal-Lake Hattie Irrigation District, No. 18-8024, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 11736).