Both sides spin arbitrator's new water decision

Saturday, December 27, 2008

There's no reason to celebrate yet, but an arbitrator's decision that Kansas could collect for only what it allegedly lost in the Republican River conflict with Nebraska stands to reason.

Kansas is seeking $72 million in damages for alleged Nebraska overuse of river water in 2005 and 2006.

That includes not only the amount of damages Kansas suffered, but the benefit Nebraska allegedly derived from violating the 2003 settlement decree from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both sides are naturally spinning the decision, Kansas noting that arbitration is non binding and last week's statement isn't the final word.

Nebraska, on the other hand, contends the decision will carry significant weight if and when the decision winds up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court again.

Attorney General Jon Bruning noted that Kansas had declined for some time to say what its actual damages had been. Bruning and other officials believe Kansas has had enough water to raise a crop, and any it didn't use would have headed toward the Gulf of Mexico, anyway.

Let's hope the conflict can be resolved as quickly as possible, with as little harm to struggling farmers and business people on either side of the border.

And while we're at it, let's resolve to never enter into another agreement as ill-advised as the Republican River Compact again.

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  • I agree...someone somewhere has made out like a bandit...and it certainly isn't the land owners and taxpayers of SW Nebraska.

    -- Posted by cplcac on Sun, Dec 28, 2008, at 6:17 PM
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