Description: Challenge the Bureau of Reclamation's approval of a partial assignment and transfer of a Colorado River water entitlement to an Arizona town from a company that diverts water for agricultural purposes.
County of Mohave v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/06/2023 Order Download Application for preliminary injunction denied. Federal Court Not Persuaded by Claim that NEPA Review Did Not Take Hard Look at Colorado River Water Transfer’s Cumulative Impacts with Respect to Climate. The federal district court for the District of Arizona denied an application for a preliminary injunction blocking U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) approval of a partial assignment and transfer of a Colorado River water entitlement to an Arizona town from a company that diverts water for agricultural purposes. The plaintiffs alleged that Reclamation should have prepared an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court first found that two of the plaintiffs—Mohave County and La Paz County—failed to establish that it was reasonably probable that the water transfer would harm their concrete interests. The court found that the remaining plaintiffs—the City and County of Yuma—had standing but that they failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims under NEPA and the Administrative Procedure Act, including their claim that Reclamation failed to adequately consider the water transfer’s cumulative impacts as to the effects of climate change and the ongoing drought. The court found that NEPA and its regulations did not require Reclamation to conduct an analysis of these “complex and amorphous issues” but that Reclamation had nevertheless included a brief analysis of these factors that would have satisfied the agency’s “hard look” obligation under NEPA if the analysis were required. 12/30/2022 Complaint Download Complaint filed.