Water News — February 2016

Cynthia Campbell to serve as new Water Resources Advisor for the City of Phoenix. Cynthia has practiced law for 21 years in both Arizona and Illinois. For the past 4 and a half years, she has been an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Phoenix, practicing exclusively in the area of water law. Prior to that, she held positions as the Water Quality Compliance Manager at ADEQ and Assistant Attorney General, where she practiced environmental law. During most of her 21 years as an attorney, she has represented government with a specialty in water law. She holds a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana.

Court affirms ADWR’s approval of mining company’s request to sever and transfer its surface water rights. The Arizona Supreme Court recently upheld ADWR’s approval of Freeport’s application to sever water rights that were appurtenant to Planet Ranch in Mohave County and to transfer them to other areas in connection with its mining activities. This decision will likely limit the ability of developers, conservation groups, residents, and municipalities to object to the transfer of vested surface water rights from one area to another and may have broader policy implications. [Read the full update from Perkins Coie.]

Obama vetoes efforts to overturn Clean Water Rule. President Obama recently rejected an attempt by congressional Republicans to overturn his landmark regulation asserting federal power over small bodies of water. The EPA rule, “waters of the United States,” would ensure that water used for drinking, recreation, economic development and other purposes is kept safe, Obama said in a message to Congress late Tuesday. “We must protect the waters that are vital for the health of our communities and the success of our businesses, agriculture, and energy development,” Obama wrote in his veto message. [More]

HB2325—Operator Certification Fees. Operator certification fees will become effective July 1, 2016. During the comment period, numerous stakeholders expressed a concern that fees would go to the general fund instead of ADEQ. ADEQ shares this concern and is pursuing legislation this year to correct the issue. Representative Frank Pratt, Chair of the Committee on Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources, has graciously agreed to sponsor HB2325. This bill would require revenue generated from operator certification fees to be deposited in the Water Quality Fee Fund. It also updates the allowable lead content in pipes and plumbing fixtures to comply with federal law. HB2325 received a unanimous “yes” vote in the EENR Committee. If you have concerns or want to know how to support the bill, contact Amanda Stone, ADEQ Chief Policy and Legislative Affairs Officer, 602-677-1426.

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