McGrath: State Files Reply in U.S. Supreme Court Case Against Wyoming
HELENA – Attorney General Mike McGrath said Friday that the state has filed its reply to Wyoming in the ongoing case in the United States Supreme Court.
It is the latest step in a case that began when Montana sued Wyoming in February 2007 in an effort to enforce the provisions of the Yellowstone River Compact. Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota entered into the compact in December 1950, and the states’ legislatures ratified it. The U.S. Congress consented to the compact in October 1951.
The original complaint asked the court to order Wyoming to deliver more water in the Tongue and Powder Rivers according to the compact and award the State of Montana damages, costs and other relief.
“We have a fundamental disagreement with Wyoming on the interpretation of the Compact,” McGrath said. “Wyoming thinks they can take all the water they want to satisfy their needs.
“Our position is that you can’t take that water if it shortchanges Montana water users of the water they used prior to 1950,” he said.
Wyoming filed a motion to dismiss in April and it now has the opportunity to review and respond to the brief Montana filed Friday.
The United States Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over cases and controversies between the states.