State ex rel. Reynolds v. Aamodt, 18997

Decision Date14 November 1990
Docket NumberNo. 18997,18997
Citation800 P.2d 1061,1990 NMSC 99,111 N.M. 4
PartiesSTATE of New Mexico, ex rel. S.E. REYNOLDS, State Engineer, and the United States of America, Plaintiffs, v. R. Lee AAMODT, et al., Defendants.
CourtNew Mexico Supreme Court
OPINION

WILSON, Justice.

The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico certified the following questions to this court:

(1) Whether NMSA 1978, Section 72-12-8(B) (Repl.Pamp.1985), or Regulation 1-9 of the Rules and Regulations Governing Drilling of Wells and Appropriation and Use of Ground Water in New Mexico requires annual filings of applications for extensions of time to place water to beneficial use to preserve permits for the use of ground water.

(2) Whether the failure to file annually for such an extension of time results in the expiration of the permit.

(3) Whether the actions of the State Engineer in accepting and approving applications for extensions of time to place water to beneficial use which are filed after the expiration of the one-year period and after the time established by the State Engineer in the relevant permits are valid.

FACTS

This matter comes upon a statement of stipulated facts as follows:

On August 7, 1979, after application by defendant Spencer to the State Engineer's office to change the location of a well and the planned purpose of use of underground waters, the State Engineer, after public notice and absent any protest, approved the applicant's transfer and extended the time for filing of proof of application of water to beneficial use to August 31, 1983. From August 31, 1983 to August 31, 1985, annual applications for extension of time were filed and granted. On December 31, 1986, an application for extension of time was filed and granted for the period August 31, 1985 to August 31, 1986, although the application was filed after the expiration of the last extension. No application to extend time was filed thereafter until September 28, 1989, when five applications were filed for the preceding five years. The late applications were accepted by the State Engineer and extension was granted until August 15, 1990.

ISSUE

The single issue underlying the questions certified to us is whether the failure to file an application for extension of time to put water to beneficial use prior to the expiration of the last extension granted automatically terminated the permit. We answer this issue in the negative.

DISCUSSION

The defendant Bishop's Lodge contends that the failure to file applications for extensions of time prior to the expiration of the last extension granted should automatically terminate the water permit. This contention is inconsistent with Section 72-12-8(B), which provides in applicable part: "Upon application to the state engineer at any time and a proper showing of reasonable cause for delay or for non-use, or upon the state engineer finding that it is in the public interest, the state engineer may grant extensions of time...." (Emphasis added).

The general rules of statutory construction require that words of a statute should be given their ordinary, everyday meaning, and in the absence of a clear and express legislative intention to the contrary, the language of the statute is conclusive. United States v. Austin, 614 F.Supp. 1208 (D.N.M.1985). Section 72-12-8(B) clearly states that the applications for extension of time may be made "at any time." For us now to hold that the application must be submitted prior to the expiration of the last extension would contravene the clear and unambiguous language of the statute. In addition, we believe our interpretation of this statute is...

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18 cases
  • Church's Fried Chicken No. 1040 v. Hanson
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • October 15, 1992
    ...of a clear and expressed legislative intention to the contrary, the language of the statute is conclusive. State ex rel. Reynolds v. Aamodt, 111 N.M. 4, 800 P.2d 1061 (1990). The ordinary, everyday meaning of "information" is "the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence." We......
  • State v. Ogden
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • March 14, 1994
    ...should be given their ordinary meaning absent clear and express legislative intention to the contrary. State ex rel. Reynolds v. Aamodt, 111 N.M. 4, 5, 800 P.2d 1061, 1062 (1990). Statutes defining criminal conduct should be strictly construed, and doubts about construction of criminal stat......
  • Mulford v. Altria Group, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Mexico
    • March 16, 2007
    ...of a clear and express legislative intention to the contrary, the language of the statute is conclusive." State ex rel. Reynolds v. Aamodt, 111 N.M. 4, 5, 800 P.2d 1061, 1062 (1990). Courts may look to the dictionary to supply meanings to undefined terms. See Carmichael v. The Payment Cente......
  • Water v. D'antonio
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • December 2, 2009
    ...for a permit to appropriate, in the form required by the rules and regulations established by him”); see State ex rel. Reynolds v. Aamodt, 111 N.M. 4, 5, 800 P.2d 1061, 1062 (1990) (finding that “[t]he legislature granted the State Engineer broad powers to implement and enforce the water la......
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