Attorney General Paxton has announced his support for a U.S. Supreme Court-appointed Special Master’s order that documents concerning an agreement between Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado be unsealed concerning the Rio Grande Compact.
The legal documents are related to a historic agreement between the three states that resolves a multi-year apportionment and territorial dispute over the resources of the Rio Grande River. The agreement, announced late last year, seeks to resolve a lawsuit filed by Texas in 2013 to stop New Mexico from depleting river water before it flows into Texas.
Although the three states support the proposed agreement, the United States, which intervened in the case, does not. The United States is thus arguing that the Special Master cannot enter the states’ agreed settlement when the federal government objects, in addition to other objections. The federal government also argued that the states’ consent decree, motion to enter the decree, and all related briefs and exhibits must be sealed. At the request of the three states, the Special Master overruled the U.S.’s confidentiality objections and ordered that the documents be made publicly available.
“The Special Master’s order is an important step forward in ensuring that the public is fully informed on this historic agreement,” said Attorney General Paxton. “The agreement will increase Texas’s access to valuable river water that can be used for a number of different purposes, including supporting Texas farmers and combating droughts, and I will continue to fight to finalize the deal.”
The Special Master has set a hearing for February 6 to consider the combined motion for entry of the settlement filed by Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, and the federal government’s objections to it. While Texas believes it has a good case to present at trial, it fully supports the proposed decree among the states as achieving for Texas what it sought when it filed the lawsuit—ensuring delivery from New Mexico of Texas’s rightful share of Rio Grande water.
To read the Special Master’s full order, click here.
To read the unsealed documents, click here.