Wednesday, August 20, 2014

San Augustin court hearing cancelled

We have received word that the the hearing tomorrow (August 21) for the San Augustin Water grab is cancelled. Details are as yet not known, but R. Bruce Frederick, Staff Attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center has just let SAWC know.

Stay tuned for more info as we find out more!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Protestants' side excluded from Court on San Augustin Oral Arguments

Note:  It would be good if as many protestants as possible attended the oral arguments scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at the Albuquerque Court of Appeals, 2211 Tucker NE in Albuquerque. 

From: R. Bruce Frederick, Staff Attorney
New Mexico Environmental Law Center

A couple of significant things have happened to which I've had to quickly respond. As you know, the Court asked the parties to file supplemental briefs on the issue of whether the “new” application filed by the Ranch makes the 2007 application and the Ranch’s appeal “moot.” An appeal or law suit becomes “moot” when there is no longer any controversy among the parties.

In our supplemental brief, we argued that the “new” application did not remove the controversy, because the “new” application is in all material respects the same as the old application. The OSE took the position that the appeal is moot; the Ranch argued that the appeal would become moot if the OSE accepted its “new” application.

The Court responded that it did not find the supplemental briefs altogether helpful, and it ordered oral argument on August 21 on seven topics (see attached order). The Court inexplicably excluded us from participating in the oral argument, although it allowed us to attend (it’s open court after all). I filed an objection and request for reconsideration (attached), asking the Court to allow us to participate, especially because the seven topics went right to the merits of the appeal.

The Court has not yet responded, but the Ranch filed another supplemental brief informing the Court that the Ranch has abandoned its “old” application. This strongly implies that the Ranch and the State Engineer have a private deal of some kind. Call if you have questions about this.

We’re still waiting for the Court to respond. If it dismisses the appeal, we can apply to the NM Supreme Court for review. The Supreme Court does not have to review our case, but we can make a good showing that they should. There are other possibilities that we can discuss.

So, as of now: Oral argument is still scheduled for August 21, and people should come if they can to show support. However, as it stands, the Court has excluded me from presenting any argument on your behalf. I will be there regardless.

I will let you know as soon as I hear anything else.

R. Bruce Frederick, Staff Attorney
New Mexico Environmental Law Center
1405 Luisa Street, Suite 5
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Glenwood Gazette News: SAWC Board Meeting July 23

Glenwood Gazette News: SAWC Board Meeting July 23: The next San Augustin Water Coalition Board meeting will be Tuesday, July 23rd at 6pm at the Datil Baptist Church. Agenda-----July 23, 2013...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Glenwood Gazette News: SAWC Annual meeting May 11

Glenwood Gazette News: SAWC Annual meeting May 11: The San Augustin Water Coalition will hold its annual meeting on Saturday, May 11th. at 3 p.m. in the Datil school gym. Doors open at 2...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

San Augustin Water Grab Appeals Process

From SAWC attorney Bruce Frederick re:  San Augustin water grab appeals process.

The hearing, if there is one, will be in Santa Fe or ABQ at the Court of Appeals.

Two caveats:   (1) The Court of Appeals often decides cased based on the written briefs without any oral argument. And (2), if there is oral argument, it won't be scheduled for months or even more than a year from now.

The appellate process will likely consist generally of the following steps in this appeal:

  • Notice of Appeal
  • Docketing Statement
  • Calendaring
  • Filing of Transcripts from Lower Court
  • Brief in Chief by Appellant
  • Response by Appellee (us)
  • Reply Brief by Appellant
  • Oral Argument (at the option of the Court)
  • Decision

 We are not yet at the "Docketing Statement" stage.

Posted with permission from Mr. Frederick.

R. Bruce Frederick, Staff Attorney
New Mexico Environmental Law Center
1405 Luisa Street, Suite 5
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

San Augustin Water Still At Risk

Blogmaster opinion:  This February 12, 2013 Albuquerque Journal article shows us that the San Augustin water grab isn't over.  We are now seeing the next stage of the war for water: the use of media to gently nudge public opinion in the preferred direction towards the side of the water grabbers, disguised as legislation created for "the public good".  Of course the water grabber's idea of public good isn't very good for the citizens of Catron County or western Socorro County.

Can Pecos water fix work for Rio Grande?

By John Fleck / Journal Staff Writer on Tue, Feb 12, 2013
"Can New Mexico's $100 million solution to drought problems on the Pecos River provide the model for the much larger problems on the lower Rio Grande?

"That is the question posed by Senate Bill 440, introduced in the Legislature last week by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces. Cervantes' bill asks for a $120 million appropriation to deal with the 'severe imbalance (that) exists among water rights holders reliant on Rio Grande water supply'.

"If Cervantes gets it (a big 'if''), the money would be used to improve irrigation efficiency, possibly import water to the Rio Grande Basin, and most important, to buy up and retire water rights in the valleys of New Mexico's southern Rio Grande, south of Elephant Butte Reservoir.

"Importing water is a tricky problem, but there are two big and controversial ideas on the table right now: pumping groundwater from a private ranch on the Plains of San Augustin, near Datil, and building a pipeline to ferry some of New Mexico's share of the Gila River to the Las Cruces area."  (Note:  bold font is blogmaster's emphasis)


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

San Augustin Plains water grab decision appealed

Augustin Plains Ranch LLC (filing as Kokopelli Ranch LLC et al) has filed a Notice of Appeal against Judge Reynold's decision on the the January 3, 2013 Order on Protestants' Motion for Summary Judgment regarding the San Augustin Plains water grab. The Notice of Appeal was filed in the 7th Judicial District Court in Catron County, NM on January 22, 2013.

This is the first round of the next phase of appeal, which is in the Court of Appeals in Santa Fe.  The San Augustin Water Coalition's attorney, R. Bruce Frederick, with New Mexico Environmental Law Center,  should be briefing the Court of Appeals beginning later this spring.
CLICK HERE for PDF download of Notice of Appeal