NM couple withdraws lawsuit against Army Corps

Posted at: 03/08/2013 3:31 PM
Updated at: 03/08/2013 3:32 PM
By: The Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A legal battle between a Santa Fe County couple and the Army Corps of Engineers over whether the couple could cleanup an arroyo on their 20-acre property without violating the federal Clean Water Act is over.

A lawyer representing Peter and Francoise Smith said the couple's lawsuit against the agency was being withdrawn Friday.

That's because the agency reevaluated its initial classification of the arroyo as "a water of the United States" and decided last month that the couple would not need a permit to clean up the area.

Attorney Jennifer Fry with the Pacific Legal Foundation says her clients were pleased with the decision.

The Smiths had bought the property southwest of Santa Fe in 2005 and built a retirement home. They later cleared dead trees to limit the fire hazard and removed some invasive salt cedar trees and other debris.

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