Jan 26 2010
The U.S. Supreme Court on January 25 killed the lawsuit pursued by the state of Mississippi against Memphis and its main utility, alleging improper use of ground water.
The United States Supreme Court this morning denied the State of Mississippi’s petition to appeal its lawsuit brought against the City of Memphis and MLGW, and also denied Mississippi’s request to file an original complaint against the City of Memphis, MLGW and the State of Tennessee in the Supreme Court. The Court’s ruling ends the five year-long suit over the water contained in the underground aquifer that runs beneath both states.
In its suit, the State of Mississippi claimed that the City of Memphis and MLGW were taking more than their share of water from the underground interstate aquifer. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that Tennessee had to be included in any lawsuit regarding the use of the interstate water source and that the lawsuit could be heard only by the Supreme Court. In today’s rulings, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of MLGW, the City of Memphis and the State of Tennessee by rejecting both Mississippi’s attempt to appeal the Fifth Circuit’s decision and also Mississippi’s request to file a new lawsuit against MLGW, the City and the State of Tennessee.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton responded to the news: “This is huge not just because of the court case itself, but also because of the tangential economic implications. Frankly speaking, this lawsuit cast a cloud over our community given the invaluable role that water plays in economic development and industrial decisions. Having it dismissed ensures that this issue doesn’t block progress in a number of significant ways.” Wharton continued, “If there is a message to be remembered in this, it’s the way we went about bringing resolution to it all. With the input of stakeholders like MLGW and local government, we commissioned a study that showed how we use and conserve water. Ultimately this win vindicates our process.”