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Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines v. Sac County Board of Supervisors

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20017
Nos. 16-0076, (Iowa, 01/27/2017)

The Iowa Supreme Court held that a city utility cannot sue upstream drainage districts over excess nitrate pollution in the utility's water source. The utility attempted to sue entities that drain wetlands so they can be turned into productive farmland for monetary damages, claiming agricultural runoff resulted in nitrate contamination that violates the SDWA. The court refused to let the suit proceed because the state legislature enacted a law prohibiting litigation between state departments, boards, and commissions. Further, the court's prior precedent that public entities cannot challenge the constitutionality of statutes enacted by legislatures that created them precluded the utility from proceeding without the court's permission, which the court was not inclined to provide.