On Water Rights, States Look to Supreme Court for Clarification

August 10, 2017

Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt is taking the lead for a 10-state coalition of attorneys general in filing a court brief defending state governments’ ability to regulate groundwater usage.

The friend of the court brief was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to review a 9th Circuit decision that Laxalt said threatens disruption to settled expectations to states nationwide.

The 9th Circuit ruling concluded, in conflict with multiple state-court decisions, that the federal government has broadly reserved rights to groundwater that preempt long-established state-law regulations, Laxalt said in a statement.

“By filing this brief, my office encourages the Supreme Court to take the necessary steps to clarify the states’ groundwater rights and to ensure Nevada’s best interests are being protected from unnecessary and unwarranted federal interference,” Laxalt said.

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