Developers have no standing to fight Santa Cruz “navigable” designation

Pima County supervisor Ray Carroll’s fight to stop Rosemont Mine included what many believed was the absurd claim that the Santa Cruz River was a navigable river. While it may remain an absurd position, Carroll and mine opponents got the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to sign on.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle, did not rule as to the legitimacy of the “navigable” designation, but she did find that the National Association of Home Builder, who brought the lawsuit to stop the federal agencies from designating the stretches of the Santa Cruz River as “navigable,” had no standing to sue.

Huvelle ruled the National Association of Home Builders had no legal standing to challenge the “navigable” claim. Huvelle said that only affected property owners would have the right to challenge the designation.

The judge also found that the plaintiffs failed to show damages.

The plaintiffs argued that because so much of Arizona land is near washes, the restrictions associated with building near a “navigable’ waterway would affect many builders.

Plaintiffs are going to consult with their attorneys before deciding if they will appeal the decision.

According to filings, the plaintiffs said the EPA designation ” is unsupported by credible evidence demonstrating that the Santa Cruz River is currently, or ever was, susceptible to use as a highway for water-borne interstate commerce.”

The Santa Cruz River is a wash which is dry for most of the year, filling during heavy rains in January and in summer months.

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