The Supreme Court in Montana v. Wyoming –U.S.–, 131 S.Ct. 1765 (2011), rejected Montana’s claim that Wyoming’s usage of water depleted the amount of water available to it under the Yellowstone River Compact between Montana and Wyoming. Montana contended that Wyoming breached Article V(A) of the Compact which provided that “appropriative rights to the beneficial uses of the water of the Yellowstone River System existing in each signatory State as of January 1, 1950, shall continue to be enjoyed in accordance with the laws governing the acquisition and use of water under the doctrine of appropriation.”
N.J. Appellate Court Extends Time Limit for Bringing Strict-Liability Claim for Natural Resource Damages
Thanks to a special “extension statute” enacted in 2001, the statute of limitations that requires the State of New Jersey to commence a civil action within ten years of its accrual does not apply to an action for natural resource damages (NRDs) that is brought “pursuant to the State’s environmental laws.” The Appellate Division recently held that the Legislature intended “the State’s environmental laws” to include the common law — or at least the common law of strict liability — and revived a claim that otherwise would have been time-barred.
In Rare Application of Waiver Doctrine, Federal Court Holds That New Jersey Gave Up Right to Seek Natural Resource Damages at Contaminated Site
It is difficult for a defendant to avoid a claim by invoking the doctrine of waiver, which requires proof of a clear, unequivocal act showing that the plaintiff deliberately intended to relinquish a known legal right. It is doubly difficult when the plaintiff is the State of New Jersey, against which the application of the doctrine is, in the words of a leading Supreme Court case, to be “most strictly limited.”