Environmental Law & Policy Alerts – Update from Somach, Simmons & Dunn

Rio Grande Compact Litigation:  U.S. Supreme Court Special Master Dismisses Seven of New Mexico’s Counterclaims

Special Master Michael Melloy issued an Order dated March 31, 2020 dismissing all but two of New Mexico’s counterclaims in the ongoing original jurisdiction action regarding Rio Grande Compact (Compact) interpretation and enforcement.  In Texas v. New Mexico & Colorado, No. 141 Original, the State of Texas alleges that the State of New Mexico has, contrary to the purpose and intent of the Compact, allowed and authorized water intended for use in Texas to be intercepted and used in New Mexico.  The Supreme Court granted Texas’s motion for leave to file its complaint in 2014.  The United States intervened as a plaintiff in 2014.  In 2018 New Mexico filed nine counterclaims, including two Compact claims, as well as seven claims that address issues pertaining to a 2008 Operating Agreement for the Rio Grande Project, issues of Reclamation law, and other issues relating to contract enforcement or interpretation.  The Special Master’s Order limits the litigation to the “the larger issues of Compact interpretation and performance,” and dismisses the seven New Mexico counterclaims that implicate “potentially narrow errors in the management of the Rio Grande or attack particular contracts for the delivery of water.” … Read More

Written by Richard S. Deitchman