Thursday, February 01, 2007

Montana Sues Wyoming!

I'm not sure whose side I should be on in this one. After all, I was born in Wyoming and have lived in Montana since I was 8...

The state of Montana filed suit Thursday with U.S. Supreme Court against Wyoming over water rights, claiming Wyoming’s excessive use of water from two river systems is leaving downstream Montana ranches and farms dry.

The dispute over the Tongue and Powder rivers - which flow from northeastern Wyoming into southeastern Montana - marks a sharp escalation in an increasingly acrimonious water fight between the two states. The region is suffering through a prolonged drought dating to 1999.

The lawsuit alleges Wyoming is ignoring Montana’s "senior" water rights by taking more water from the rivers than allowed under the 1950 Yellowstone River Compact. That includes water diverted and stored for irrigation and also groundwater pumped from beneath the surface during coalbed methane production.

"Wyoming signed a compact that said Montana would get its fair share of water and Wyoming has not been holding up its end of the deal," Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said in a statement.

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