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Scott River Public Trust appeal attracts more parties to the suit
Sacramento, Calif. — The battles over water, its uses and the resources within it continue in Siskiyou County, and one case has seen parties argue over whether water constitutes real property and what authority agencies have in managing groundwater.
The case County of Siskiyou v. Superior Court of the County of Sacramento stems from an appeal of a decision to keep another case, Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board in the Superior Court for Sacramento County.
In moving from the Sacramento court to the court of appeals, the issues have gone from whether or not Siskiyou County and the SWRCB have authority to manage groundwater under the Public Trust Doctrine to whether or not water constitutes real property.
Another issue that has remained a point of contention in the suit is where it should be heard – with Siskiyou arguing that it should be heard in this county, while codefendant SWRCB and the petitioners argue that it should be heard in Sacramento.
On April 4, the Natural Resources Defense Council asked to be allowed to join the argument on behalf of ELF and the SWRCB. According to its brief, the NRDC “led an eighteen-year litigation under state and federal water law to restore historic salmon runs to 60 miles of the San Joaquin River that had been dried out by the operations of Friant Dam,” along with participating in other water cases.
NRDC’s main arguments mirror those of the other petitioners, arguing that water cannot be owned that the case should be heard in Sacramento, where the SWRCB headquarters are located.
In an Apr. 21 response, Siskiyou County rebukes those arguments, using many similar examples to earlier briefs filed in the case.
The case was originally referred to by the county as a “landmark” case due to no prior establishment of Public Trust authority over groundwater. It is unknown when the appeals court will rule on the county’s motion.
– David Smith can be reached at email@example.com
Page Updated: Friday April 29, 2011 03:05 AM Pacific
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