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Ministerio Roca Solida, Inc. v. United States

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20186
Nos. 16-826L, (Fed. Cl., 11/20/2019) (Kaplan, J.)

The U.S. Claims Court granted in part and denied in part the U.S. government's motion for summary judgment in a challenge against FWS for rerouting spring waters that had previously flowed through church property into a restoration channel in an effort to save a native fish species. The church argued that FWS' diversion of water into the restoration channel caused flooding on its property, and that the diversion resulted in a Fifth Amendment taking of certain vested water rights. The government contended that the diversion did not cause the flooding claimed by the church and that the agency did not intentionally flood the property, nor was the flooding reasonably foreseeable when the restoration channel was built. The court concluded that there were material factual disputes concerning both the cause of the flooding and whether it was reasonably foreseeable, and found the church's claim that the diversion effected a taking of water rights under Nevada law was ripe for review but that the government was entitled to summary judgment on the merits of that claim. It therefore granted in part and denied in part the motion.