Norm Semanko joined Moffatt Thomas as an Attorney of Counsel in 2011 and he was elected partner in January 2017. Mr. Semanko leads the firm’s Water/Environment/Natural Resources practice group. His extensive experience in water resources issues and his working relationships with members of local, state, and federal government and regulatory agencies further bolsters Moffatt Thomas’s expertise in agricultural law, water rights, environmental law, land use, mining, and public lands.
Mr. Semanko served as the Executive Director and General Counsel for the Idaho Water Users Association, Inc. from 2000 until his replacement was installed in April 2017. At IWUA he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the association; monitored current water issues; analyzed federal and state legislation and regulations; advocated in the Idaho State Legislature before Congress, and federal, state, and local agencies; organized educational seminars and workshops; and provided general legal advice and services to the association, including participation in litigation and other legal matters.
He has also represented individual clients on water law matters before the Idaho Department of Water Resources, Snake River Basin Adjudication Court, and the Idaho Supreme Court. He has been an Adjunct Professor at Boise State University, where he taught Natural Resource Law and Environmental Health Law. He was also an Instructor at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, where he taught Legal Issues in Water Management.
Mr. Semanko previously served on the Eagle City Council, including two terms as President of the council. He also served as Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party. He was a member and previously served as General Counsel of the Republican National Committee, was a delegate of the RNC Ethics Committee, and was an elected member of the RNC Budget Committee representing the Western Region.
Mr. Semanko is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center where he served as Student Bar Association Vice President and was a member of the Craven Constitutional Law Moot Court team. He also spent a year as a visiting law student at the University of Idaho, where he received his undergraduate degree in political science.
The National Water Resources Association named Mr. Semanko as Vice Chair of its Legislative Review Committee in April, 2017. Mr. Semanko is the sole Idaho attorney serving on the committee.
- J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1993
- B.S., University of Idaho, 1988
- Idaho State and Federal Courts
Ratings & Recognitions
- 2016 Leaders in Law Award Honoree, Idaho Business Review
Professional & Civic Activities
- National Water Resources Association – Vice Chair, Litigation Review Committee (appointed in 2017)
- Idaho Water Users Association, Executive Director and General Counsel (2000-2017)
- Idaho Republican Party, Chairman (2008-2012)
- Eagle City Council, President (2012-2013)
- Food Producers of Idaho, President (2010-2012)
- Eagle Citizen’s Water Committee (2005-2006)
- National Water Resources Association, President (2005-2007); Federal Affairs Committee Chairman (2001-2013); Board of Directors (1999-2017); Water & Property Rights Committee Co-Chair
- Idaho Cooperative Council
- Coalition for Idaho Water, President (2000-2012)
- Western States Water Council, appointed by Gov. Kempthorne, reappointed by Gov. Otter (2000-2008)
- Speaker of the House Newcomb’s Private Property Rights Ad-Hoc Committee
- Idaho Council on Industry and the Environment, Board of Directors
- Family Farm Alliance, Advisory Committee (1993-present)
- Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, Water Quality and Water Quantity Committees
- Idaho State Bar (1993-present); Water Law Section, Chairman (1996-1998); Natural Resources & Environment Section, Vice Chairman (1994-1995)
- Fifth District Bar Association, Chairman (1998-1999)
- Boise Elevated (2013-present)
- “Water and Natural Resources Legislation Review: 2016,” The Advocate, June/July 2017.
- Update on Water Law Issues: Coeur d’Alene Spokane River Basin Adjudication
Guest speaker at the second annual North West Property Owners Alliance Dinner and Auction in Coeur d’Alene on March 14, 2015.
- WATER ISSUES
Presented to Leadership Idaho Agriculture at the Idaho Ag Summit, February 18, 2015.
(1) Who has control & authority on open ditch water ways where
landowners do not have water rights to the water?
(2) Will the government mandate all farms to have a silt/sediment pond on their land?
(3) Could the state reapportion Snake River water rights?
- Mr. Semanko has written numerous articles regarding water law and environmental law topics for CLEs, seminars, and various periodicals, including the American Bar Association’s Annual Water Law Seminar, Law Seminars International, CLE International, the National Water Resources Association, Council of State Governments-West, Western States Water Council, Family Farm Alliance, Idaho Water Users Association, and other state water resource associations, as well as the Idaho State Bar Association’s publication, The Advocate.
- Rotary Club of Boise
- Twin Falls Rotary Club (1996-2000)
- “Understanding Riparian and Water Rights,” Boundaries and Easements: Live Seminar, Half Moon Education , July 11, 2017.