Aug 15, 2011

No Consensus on Wisdom of King Water Lawsuit

Gary King
Santa Fe New Mexican - The New Mexico attorney general's fight with the federal government over distribution of water from Elephant Butte — the state's largest reservoir — promises to be an expensive battle, as water cases usually are. A lawsuit filed Aug. 8 in federal district court will be paid for initially by a $1.5 million state legislative appropriation. New Mexico Attorney General Gary King thinks Texas is illegally taking millions of gallons of New Mexico's Rio Grande water under a 2008 agreement between the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and irrigators in Southern New Mexico and El Paso.

Elephant Butte Dam
The agreement dictates how water will be accounted for and released from Elephant Butte. The attorney general filed the complaint in federal district court against the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation, seeking to void the deal. King argues that the bureau failed to analyze the agreement's environmental impacts and violated an interstate stream compact and state water law with changes in the reservoir's operating agreement. "We think the federal government had an obligation to make sure the agreement treated (irrigators in) both districts fairly," Assistant Attorney General Stephen Farris said. "It doesn't. It heavily favors Texas." Read full story here: News New Mexico

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