The New Mexico Court of Appeals has dismissed a complaint filed by a statewide ranchers group that sought to stay a sweeping water protection measure.
The "outstanding waters" designation guarantees special protection for hundreds of miles of rivers and streams, dozens of lakes and acres of wetlands in federal wilderness areas across the state. The designation prohibits any activities that would degrade water quality.
The New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association had challenged the process by which the designation was proposed by the state, negotiated and eventually approved by the Water Quality Control Commission in 2010.
The group was concerned that the designation was too broad and could result in lawsuits over grazing on public lands.
The court dismissed the ranchers' complaint, saying they failed to show how they would be adversely affected.
Environmental groups applauded the court's decision.