For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: September 12, 2003

Idaho Joins Other States in Filing an Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court on Clean Water Act

(Boise) - Representing the State of Idaho, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, joined 11 states in filing a "friend of the court" brief with the United States Supreme Court challenging a decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court in South Florida Water Management District v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians held that a federal discharge permit under the Clean Water Act is required when a water district, without altering the condition of the water, moves water containing pollutants from one water body to another through a series of levees and pipelines.

"The State of Idaho contends the court's decision could interfere with individual water rights," Attorney General Wasden said. "This decision could also interfere with the state's sovereign authority to manage its water resources to meet the interests and needs of the citizens."

The state's challenge contends that the decision may require a federal discharge permit at each point where a ditch, canal, tunnel or pipeline delivers its water to a stream or reservoir.

"Where it is necessary to divert and deliver water through a system of manmade and natural conveyances and reservoirs to sustain Idaho's cities, farms and ranches, this financial and technical burden would have a particular impact in western arid states, such as Idaho," Attorney General Wasden said. The management of such a system of water diversion and delivery is traditionally undertaken by states pursuant to state law. Idaho contends that such water management is a role expressly reserved to the states under the Clean Water Act.

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