Writings and observations

Water rights weekly report for May 15. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

Oklahoma state is facing a budget deficit. Should it sell some of its waster rights to thirsty Texas to help balance the books? The idea is coming up for discussion again partly because of proposals by former Oklahoma Governor David Walters.

A new study finds that when it comes to allocating water from the Upper Deschutes River for irrigation purposes, less is more. Findings indicate that the current system encourages inefficient use of water by senior water rights holders and very efficient use of water by junior water rights holders, resulting in higher crop yields and economic value on farms that have implemented practices to improve water use efficiency.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army sent a letter to governors today soliciting input from states on a new definition of protected waters that is in-line with a Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in the 2006 Rapanos v. United States case. Scalia’s definition explains that federal oversight should extend to “relatively permanent” waters and wetlands with a “continuous surface connection” to large rivers and streams.

The governing board of trustees of the College of Southern Idaho at Twin Falls decided May 9 to buy water rights to Pristine Springs, a nearby geothermal aquifer.

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Digests

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 15. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

U.S. Representative Raul Labrador on May 9 filed paperwork with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office to run for governor in 2018. He joins a field of Republicans which already includes Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, former state Senator Russ Fulcher and Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch on May 8 welcomed the nomination of Idaho District Judge David C. Nye of Pocatello by President Donald Trump to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on May 8 and 9 toured the Idaho National Laboratory, visiting a number of facilities at the installation and talking with groups of employees there.

Idaho Power has filed a settlement stipulation with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission related to early retirement of the North Valmy coal-fired power plant and an associated plan for cost recovery.

Acting Governor Brad Little has declared a state of disaster emergency for Custer, Elmore and Gooding Counties as of May 10.

PHOTO Representative Raul Labrador (center, standing) files paperwork at the Idaho secretary of state’s office to run for governor. Here he talks with Secretary of State Lawerence Denney (left), with whom he served in the Idaho House. (photo/Labrador campaign)

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Briefings