Articles Posted in Environmental Law

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Freeport Minerals Corporation (Freeport) filed applications with the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) to sever certain water rights appurtenant to land in Mohave County and transfer them to a wellfield to be used at a mining complex in Yavapai county. As required by Ariz. Rev. Stat. 45-172(A)(7), ADWR published notice of Freeport’s severance and transfer applications, stating that “any interested person” could file written objections. Mohave County filed objections. ADWR rejected the County’s objections. The superior court vacated ADWR’s final decision on the grounds that it was arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court and affirmed ADWR’s final decision, holding (1) section 45-172 defines the only grounds on which ADWR can deny a properly filed application to sever and transfer a water right; (2) the “interested persons” entitled to object to a proposed severance and transfer are limited to those with an interest that is protected by section 45-172; and (3) ADWR in this case properly denied the County’s objections to the proposed transfers because those objections did not identify any violation of section 45-172 and because the County did not qualify as an “interested person.” View "Ariz. Dep’t of Water Res. v. Hon. Crane McClennen" on Justia Law

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The State of Arizona filed an interlocutory appeal from an order issued in the general stream adjudications of the Gila River System and Source and the Little Colorado System and Source. At issue was whether federal water rights were impliedly reserved on lands granted by the United States government to the State of Arizona to support education and other public institutions (State Trust Lands). The Supreme Court accepted review and affirmed the superior court's ruling that there was no withdrawal, no reservation for a federal purpose, and no congressional intent to reserve water rights for the State Trust Lands. View "In re Water Rights to Gila / Little Colorado" on Justia Law