Latest News

2 Aug, 2016

Pulled from the Swamp: EPA Wetland Determination Now Judicially Reviewable

2019-03-12T09:25:23-05:00August 2nd, 2016|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

Landowners and developers bogged in an EPA wetland determination were recently thrown a life line when the United States Supreme Court determined The Army Corps of Engineer's (Corps) "jurisdictional determinations" (JD) regarding wetland designations are reviewable by the court.  United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA) landowners and developers who do not have the proper permits can face severe criminal and [...]

13 Oct, 2015

The 6th Circuit Puts the Brakes on EPA Enforcing New Definition of Waters of the US

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00October 13th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set to begin enforcing the new definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) on August 28, 2015.  However, several states filed suits in various jurisdictions alleging the EPA lacked the authority to expand its jurisdiction pursuant to the new definition.  Now the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has put the brakes on the EPA's plan to enforce WOTUS [...]

6 Mar, 2015

A House Divided: Urban Iowa Threatening to Sue Rural Iowa for Farm Runoff

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00March 6th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

  Dividing the House "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  Abraham Lincoln quoted this indisputable truth in reference to the issue of slavery.  Although unlikely to lead to civil war, the debate between urban water use and rural land use is an ever increasing concern. The issue has come to head in Iowa and may be fought in court.  The city of Des Moines plans to file [...]

19 Aug, 2014

Water is for Fighting Over: Nebraska Farmers Sue for Water Diverted to Kansas

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00August 19th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

Many have heard the quote attributed to Mark Twain over a 100 years ago: "Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over."  Those words are as true today as they were a century ago. Four South Central Nebraska farmers have decided to take their fight over water to court.  The farmers allege they lost yields because the State diverted water away from the farmers' irrigation supply  to comply with [...]

19 May, 2014

Hot Water Topics II: Farmers Join In Suit v. Corps of Engineers for Missouri River Flooding

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00May 19th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Property Rights, Water Law|

Over 200 Landowners, farmers and small-business owners have joined the lawsuit Ideker Farms, Inc. et al v. United States of America alleging they incurred property damage as a result of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' management of the Missouri River from 2006 to 2013. Reuters May 5, 2014. The lawsuit alleges the Army Corps of Engineers changed their priorities from flood management to environmental management; resulting in increased frequency and severity of flooding [...]

26 Mar, 2014

State Senator Proposes One Board To Rule All Water Issues In Nebraska

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00March 26th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

On January 21, 2014, Nebraska State Senator Bill Avery, introduced a bill (LB1005), which would create a board to govern the use of surface and groundwater.  Currently, surface water is controlled by the State's Department of Natural Resources while groundwater is regulated by 23 Natural Resource Districts (NRDs). Recognizing a direct connection between surface water and ground water, Avery believes one board would provide a consistent regulation over the state's [...]

2 Aug, 2013

Property Rights Along Waterway: What Nebraska Land Owners and Float Trippers Need to Know.

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00August 2nd, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Property Rights, Water Law|

Float trips on the Dismal River, Platte River, and Niobrara in Nebraska, the Gasconade, Little Piney and Big Piney in Missouri and the North Platte in Wyoming make up some of my fondest memories.  On every one of those float trips, without fail, nature calls on somebody in the group and a decision has to be made as to where can we stop, and how long can we stick around? This issue came to a [...]

4 May, 2012

Niobrara River irrigators win big hand against NPPD in water rights card game.

2018-04-23T18:22:23-05:00May 4th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

Irrigators on the Niobrara River Basin won a big hand recently when the Nebraska Supreme Court found in their favor again.  The ruling does not end the ongoing card game with NPPD, but it may give irrigators a chance to expand their water rights in the basin.    Last June, I posted this blog regarding the Court's decision ordering the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to re-determine whether the basin was "maxed out" for irrigation purposes.   Despite the ruling, the Nebraska Public [...]