Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Supreme Court rules on water fight between Montana, Wyoming

The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in Monday on a long-running water-rights fight between Wyoming and Montana, ruling that Wyoming shorted its neighbor to the north on Tongue River water for just two of the 15 years Montana had claimed. The judgment by the nation’s high court upholds the conclusion by a court-appointed special master that Wyoming is liable to Montana for reducing the volume of water available in the river at the state line in 2004 and 2006. The court ordered the case back to the special master to determine damages and any other legal relief owed to Montana. The justices ruled for Wyoming in claims made by Montana for 13 other years dating back to 1981. Ranchers and farmers in both states depend on the Tongue River, which flows north from Wyoming and eventually joins the Yellowstone River. Montana sued in 2007, arguing that Wyoming for years had broken a 1950s-era water compact by allowing irrigators and small reservoir owners to take too much water from the Tongue...more

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