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Highlights

The question was raised concerning whether the Secretary of the Interior, in altering terms of the standard recordable contracts for excess lands, would violate owners' vested rights in the San Luis Water District in California. Under the provisions of articles 20 to 22 of the District Contract, the terms "excess land" and "large landowner" are defined, while the new recordable contract does not contain these definitions. Any change in the new contract must be examined to determine whether there is a violation of reclamation law or whether there has been an unauthorized, unilateral change that constitutes a transgression of a "vested right" flowing from the District Contract. A provision of the new recordable contract is subject to attack on this basis by excess landowners now wishing to sign recordable contracts with the United States.