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Sierra Club v. Watt

Citation: 11 ELR 20880
No. No. 80-1674, 659 F.2d 203/(D.C. Cir., 07/07/1981)

Affirming the distirct court, 10 ELR 20555, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals holds that the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) does not establish federal reserved rights in water courses appurtenant to lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Reserved water rights arise by implication when the federal government withdraws its land from the public domain and reserves it for a federal purpose. Public lands administered under FLPMA, however, constitute the public domain and are not reserved. Consequently, the district court acted properly in refusing to declare the existence of federal reserved rights in four water courses in southern Utah and northern Arizona.

Counsel for Appellant
Karin P. Sheldon, H. Anthony Ruckel
1424 K St. NW, Washington DC 20005
(202) 347-1770

Counsel for Appellees
Jerry L. Jackson, Sanford Sagalkin, Peter R. Steenland Jr., Raymond N. Zagone, Margaret M. McMahon, Anne S. Almy, Joshua I. Schwartz
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2772

Maxwell A. Miller, James R. Richards
1845 Sherman St., Denver CO 80203
(303) 861-0244

Before: MacKINNON and EDWARDS, Circuit Judges and DAVIES*, United States Senior District Judge for the District of North Dakota.