National Ski Areas Association files new complaint in their lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service

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From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

At issue is language in the permits under which most Colorado ski areas operate on public land. The two sides have been engaged in a long-running tussle over who owns the water originating on national forest lands. By amending its original lawsuit against the Forest Service in Federal District Court, the ski industry also gives the Forest Service an extra month to respond to the legal challenge. The industry also claims the new permit condition is an unlawful “takings ,”and that it conflicts with state water law. “The bottom line is, I don’t think the 2012 revisions solved the problem,” said attorney Glenn Porzak, representing the National Ski Areas Association in the legal challenge…

The industry has called the new permit language a takings, claiming that the Forest Service is forcing ski resorts to “abandon” or trnaswer water rights when permits are not renewed, and requiring ski areas to relinquish any legal claim for compensation for water rights “seized, taken, and subject to compelled transfer under the 2012 directive.”

The area where the industry may find relief from the court is related to the procedure or lack thereof) used by the Forest Service to adopt the new policy. According to the industry’s lawsuit, the agency failed to subject the change to any sort of environmental analysis, or to allow for public review and comment. According to Porzak, the Forest Service violated its own regulations by inserting the new clause without following those procedures.

More water law coverage here.

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