Just when everyone thought that the flora and the fauna in the Black Canyon were safe from the deal the feds cut with Colorado an activist judge jumps in with a 30 day extension to the federal appeal, according to the Montrose Daily Press. From the article, "U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Brimmer gave the Department of Interior 30 more days to appeal his Black Canyon water rights case decision last week. In August, Brimmer threw out a deal between the state of Colorado and the federal government to settle a long-standing water dispute. The federal government originally filed a large federal reserve water right in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The lawsuit is the largest in Colorado history with over 350 objectors. The case has huge implications on how water is managed in the Gunnison basin and could reduce irrigation water to ranchers in the Upper Gunnison.
"Before the case went to trial, a settlement was reached between the state of Colorado and the federal government. The settlement allowed for a minimum stream flow of 300 c.f.s in the canyon and larger flows from a state water right. When the settlement was announced, a coalition of environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the federal government did not follow proper procedures when it negotiated the settlement. Brimmer agreed with the coalition and produced a stinging rebuke of the federal government's position. He cited the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal statutes in the ruling. Justice Department lawyers and officials with the Department of the Interior have been trying to decide on whether to appeal Brimmer's decision. They were given 60 days to file the appeal. Some in the legal community have speculated that the case could make it to the U.S. Supreme Court, as it involves potential Constitutional questions of state versus federal power."
More Coyote Gulch coverage here.
Category: Colorado Water