Katie John v. Norton
On January 7, 2005, Katie John, represented by NARF, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska challenging the Federal Agencies' Secretaries' final rule implementing the prior Katie John mandate as being too restrictive in its scope. Katie John's complaint alleges that the Federal agencies should have included Alaska Native allotments as public lands and further that the federal government's interest in water extends upstream and downstream from the Conservation Units established under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The State of Alaska intervened and challenged the regulations as illegally extending federal jurisdiction to state waters. On September 9, 2009 the Court entered an order upholding the agencies' final rule as reasonable. While rejecting Katie John's claim that the agency had a duty to identify all of its federally reserved water rights in upstream and downstream waters, the court stated that the agency could do so at some future time if necessary to fulfill the purposes of the reserve. The case was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and has been fully briefed. Argument took place on July 25, 2011 and we are now waiting decision by the Court.
Consolidated with State v. Norton.
Photo: Katie John