Created: 06/02/2014 9:15 AM
By: The Associated Press
FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico State Engineer Scott Verhines says a lawsuit that seeks to nullify a deal settling tribal rights to water from the San Juan River should be denied.
A group of legislators and a northwestern New Mexico farmer have asked the state's highest court to nullify the deal between the state, the federal government and the Navajo Nation.
The Farmington Daily Times reports that Verhines filed a response to the lawsuit and says the matter should be handled by the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
Critics contend the settlement shortchanges non-Indian water users, but state water officials maintain it benefits New Mexico by avoiding a lengthy and costly court fight that could have ended with the Navajos winning the rights to even larger amounts of San Juan water.
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