New Mexico political and agricultural leaders will travel to Washington, D.C. for oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado on Monday.
The litigation at hand involves a decades-old dispute among states in the southwest: Water.
“Obviously, being in the desert, we are extremely reliant on water," said Robert Faubion, President of Elephant Butte Irrigation District's Board of Directors.
In 2008, EBID and its sister district in El Paso entered into an operating agreement that provided El Paso with extra water to make up for those impacts of pumping here in the Mesilla Valley, Faubion said. Texas sued New Mexico in 2013, alleging a violation of that agreement.
“Texas made it clear at the time that if they challenged the operating agreement, that Texas would feel obliged to go to the Supreme Court, and that is exactly what happened and that is exactly why we’re here where we are today," Faubion said.
“This is a huge issue that could affect states all across the nation," said Samantha Barncastle Salopek, General Counsel for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District.
Barncastle told ABC-7 that this could be a precedent-setting case because the federal government has moved to intervene in the dispute among states.
“What the United States has said is that they have enough of a federal interest in this contract, that even though they have not signed on to it, they’re not a party to the contract, they should still be allowed to come into this case and litigate as though they were a party to the contract," Barncastle said.
Las Cruces city officials would not comment on the case because of pending litigation.