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Kansas v. Colorado

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20151
Nos. No. 105, (U.S., 12/07/2004) Remaining issues

The U.S. Supreme Court adopted all of a Special Master's recommendations in a dispute between Colorado and Kansas concerning the division of waters in the upper Arkansas River. The Special Master's First Report found that Colorado unlawfully depleted the river in violation of the Arkansas River Compact, and its Second and Third Reports set forth proposed remedies. At issue here is Kansas' exceptions to the Special Master's Fourth Report, which resolves the remaining issues. The Court overruled all of Kansas' exceptions. The Court denied Kansas' request to appoint a River Master to decide various technical disputes related to decree enforcement. It also overruled Kansas' exceptions to the Special Master's prejudgment interest calculation, its recommendation that the computer model used to determine Colorado's future compact compliance be used with a 10-year measurement period, and its recommendation that the final amounts of water replacement plan credits to be applied toward Colorado's compact obligations be determined by the Colorado Water Court and appeals therefrom. The Court also overruled Kansas' exceptions to the Special Master's finding that Colorado complied with the compact between 1997 and 1999, and its refusal to make recommendations on 15 disputed issues. Breyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C.J., and O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, and Ginsburg, JJ., joined and in which Stevens and Thomas, JJ., joined expect for Part II. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Stevens, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

[A prior decision in this litigation is published at 31 ELR 20744.]