United States Ninth Circuit

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Desert Water Agency v. US Dep't of the Interior, 14-55461

In a complaint brought by the Desert Water Agency (DWA), a political subdivision of the State of California, against the U.S. Department of the Interior and its Bureau of Indian Affairs, challenging a federal regulation that DWA believed might preempt certain taxes and fees DWA assessed against non-Indians who leased lands within an Indian reservation, the district court's dismissal for lack of standing and ripeness is affirmed where: 1) new federal regulation 25 C.F.R. section 162.017 did not purport to change existing law, and therefore, did not itself operate to preempt DWA's charges, and did not command DWA to modify its behavior by doing or refraining from doing anything; 2) DWA lacked standing because it had not suffered a cognizable injury at the hands of the Department of the Interior; and 3) the court lacked jurisdiction to issue a declaratory judgment that DWA's charges would survive a preemption challenge under White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136 (1980),because the dispute between DWA and Interior was over.

Appellate Information

  • Argued
  • Submitted
  • Decided
  • Published 2017/03/07

Judges

  • O'SCANNLAIN

Court

  • United States Ninth Circuit

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