The Snake River Basin Adjudication
Snake River Basin Adjudication courtroom in Twin Falls, Idaho, has seen
quite a few battles over the last few years, and is likely to see more
before the largest adjudication in that state's history (and one of the
largest ever in the United States) winds up, somewhere in the years ahead. photo/Randy Stapilus
||Idaho Power, state settle
The Idaho Power Company challenge to the terms of the 1984 Swan
Falls agreement ended on March 25 when the company, together with state
officials and others, agreed to a “reaffirmation” of the deal, with a few
One quick result of the agreement was introduction in the Idaho
Legislature, two days later, of Senate Bill 1169, aimed at locking the new
framework agreement into place. The measure said the “Public Utilities Commission shall have no
jurisdiction to consider in any proceeding, whether instituted before or after
the effective date of this act, any issue as to whether any electric utility,
including Idaho Power Company, should have or could have preserved, maintained
or protected its water rights and hydroelectric generation in a manner
inconsistent with the Framework Reaffirming the Swan Falls Settlement entered
into by the Governor, Attorney General and the Idaho Power Company dated March
The measure had not progressed to hearing by month’s end. The Idaho Legislature was expected to
adjourn sometime in mid- to late April.
The agreement also is expected to be delivered to the Snake River
Basin Adjudication court, which has been considering the Idaho Power challenge,
Budget slices adjudication
The state’s and nation’s ongoing economic crisis has impacted
Idaho’s water adjudications, along with so much else.
A 4% budget recission measure (House Bill 61) cleared the Idaho
House on a 68-1 vote, and it included a cut of $539,300 in the Idaho Department
of Water Resources.
As of the end of February, budget activity—and much of the
activity of the legislature generally—had slowed to a halt, partly because of
rapidly-shifting economic conditions, and partly because of ongoing analysis of
the just-passed federal stimulus package and its impact on Idaho.
The session was thought likely to extend well into April, and
possibly into May, because of the uncertain budget and revenue picture.
On February 10, IDWR Director David Tuthill told the
budget-writing Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee that the adjudications,
Snake River and North Idaho, will continue on, but that cuts will slow them
He said that cuts in the department already have included 11