Litigation update: New Mexico Supreme Court quashes appeal; State Engineer and Albuquerque Water Authority ask for reconsideration.

On March 29, 2021, the New Mexico Supreme Court issued an unexpected order quashing the appeal in the Navajo water litigation. In 2018 the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the appeals by the State Engineer, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority, the City of Gallup, and the San Juan Agricultural Water Users. In March 2021 the Supreme Court reversed itself and quashed the appeal “as improvidently granted.” No explanation was given.

This comes as a shock to all the parties in the case, especially the State Engineer. The State Engineer has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision, and so has the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, and the City of Gallup. They are all asking the Supreme Court to take action to prevent the federal government from destroying the state’s authority over all the rivers in New Mexico.

The State Engineer says that “The Opinion [of the New Mexico Court of Appeals] robs New Mexico of its authority to control the appropriation and use of the waters of the State.”

Copies of the motions are attached and highlighted.

The San Juan Agricultural Water Users Association agrees with the State Engineer, the Water Authority and Gallup.

There is no timetable for the Supreme Court to act on the motions for reconsideration. The court might act tomorrow, or months from now. We will keep you posted.

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