Category Archives: Litigation

SGMA Gone Awry in Indian Wells Valley

The California Supreme Court can protect incentives for responsible groundwater management by agreeing to review an appellate court decision (Mojave Pistachios v. Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Agency) challenging Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan (“GSP”).  The dispute is over whether the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) allows Indian Wells Valley to eviscerate a landowner’s (Mojave Pistachios LLC) groundwater rights without due process and impose unreasonable “fees” for a speculative GSP.  The future of reasonable groundwater management hangs in the balance. 

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The Use of Eminent Domain to Take Over Private Water Companies in California Part I: The Case of Apple Valley’s Proceedings to Acquire Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company

The use of eminent domain across the world can often be a contentious process regardless of what property is being taken. In China, the City of Beijing evicted an estimated 1.5 million people from their homes in the city to make way for the buildings and infrastructure needed for the Olympics. In some instances, the citizens were not justly compensated, and developers would take drastic steps to force unwilling residents to move from their properties. In the City of Kunming, an elderly 83 year-old woman refused to vacate her property after her neighborhood was slated for development. To drive her out, the developer leveled all of the properties around her home, cut electricity and dug a two meter deep mote around her house. Yikes. Continue reading

Water in Oklahoma Part Two: Native American Water Rights and the Fight over Water in Southern Oklahoma

In last week’s post, I wrote about the unsuccessful increased claims that Texas tried to make on Oklahoma’s portion of the Red River. In a region that faces continued drought conditions, many parties want to stake a claim to the area’s limited water resources. Southern Oklahoma’s water resources have parties from both directions on the compass that want a share. We already know that Oklahoma’s neighbor to the South, Texas, wants more of the Red River entitlement. However, to the North of these water resources, Oklahoma City and the surrounding suburbs are in need of further water entitlement to sate its citizens’ appetite for water. In this blog post, I will discuss how protracted negotiations and court proceedings have pitted Oklahoma City against the Indian Nations with land and water claims in the Southern part of the state. While the negotiations are still ongoing, the case shows how important limited water resources are to everyone in the region. But first a bit of background.

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Oklahoma Beats Texas in (Legal) Red River Rivalry

Riding a three-year football winning streak at the annual Red River Rivalry in Dallas, Oklahoma ran over Texas before the U.S. Supreme Court when an unanimous Court ruled that the Red River Compact does not pre-empt Oklahoma water law.  The decision in Tarrant Regional Water District v. Hermann follows a long-standing tradition of deference to state sovereignty.  The economic stakes were a Texan attempt to avoid the cost of water treatment. Continue reading