N.M. High Court Rejects San Juan River Lawsuit

Jun 6, 2014

New Mexico's highest court has denied a request by a group of lawmakers and a farmer to scrap a water rights settlement with the Navajo Nation.

The Supreme Court issued its decision last week in a one-page order without explaining its legal reasoning.

The court had been asked to nullify the San Juan River water rights settlement and require proposed water deals to be sent to the Legislature for approval or rejection.

Three legislators and a northwestern New Mexico irrigator filed the case last month, contending that former Gov. Bill Richardson lacked the power to unilaterally bind New Mexico to the water agreement.

A district court approved the settlement in 2013. Non-Indian irrigators have appealed that in a separate case that could eventually reach the Supreme Court.

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