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Regulatory: The Forest Service crosses swords with ski area operators over water rights

The dispute’s outcome will test the scope of government agencies’ regulatory power over public and private properties

The U.S. Forest Service and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), an organization representing ski areas throughout the U.S. are going head to head over a clause recently inserted in permits that allows NSAA members to operate on national forest system lands. The NSAA claims Clause D-30 would  require the operators to transfer privately acquired and held water rights to the federal government even if those rights apply to water acquired outside the boundaries of the permitted property.

Specifically, Clause D-30 revises a 2004 clause in NSAA members’ permits that called for the Forest Service and permittees to co-own water rights derived from the permit granted by the Forest Service and used on the permitted property, in effect, a system of joint water rights.

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Barbara Lichman

Barbara Lichman, Ph.D., is of counsel in the Orange County office of Buchalter Nemer representing public entities, land developers, airlines, airport owners/sponsors, municipalities, ports,...

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