Arizona

May 16, 2013 2:39 AM by Associated Press

Group challenges Ariz. over water pumping decision in Sierra Vista

PHOENIX - Environmentalists are suing the Arizona Department of Water Resources over decision to allow groundwater pumping for a housing development planned in Sierra Vista.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by Earthjustice. The group says it's trying to protect the river flows that sustain the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

Earlier this year, an administrative law judge ruled that state law didn't require regulators to consider the possible impact on the San Pedro River when they gave water-supply clearance to the development.

The department also determined last month that the river and aquifer are separate, a determination that clears the way for the development.

Earthjustice argues otherwise. It says the development stands to pump the same water that was decreed through water rights to protect the conservation area when it was established by Congress in 1988.

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