Norman M. Semako argues for North Idaho Water Rights Association

January 28, 2015:  Judge Eric J. Wildman of the Coeur d’Alene-Spokane River Basin Adjudication court denied a federal motion to delay water right decrees to private property owners on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation. The decision was issued following a hearing Jan. 21.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, acting on behalf of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, had argued that water rights should not yet be decreed in case future tribal water claims would impact private water claims.

Norm Semanko, Moffatt Thomas attorney for the North Idaho Water Rights Association based in Benewah County, argued on behalf of the private claimants.

In a press release, the local group said the Bureau of Indian Affairs “claimed that they were not trying to create leverage for future negotiations by holding the private water rights hostage, but their motion and argument seemed to suggest exactly that. The Court’s ruling today was definitely a win for the private claimants in the adjudication.”

The CSRBA’s next proceedings are scheduled for Feb. 12.