DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that his office has filed a brief responding to Kansas’ allegations that Nebraska violated a 2002 settlement concerning Republican River water use. Colorado is a named defendant in the lawsuit, but Kansas did not make any direct claims against Colorado.
“I remain concerned that Kansas sees litigation as the best way to resolve issues on the Republican River,” Suthers said. “I'm especially troubled because Kansas unsuccessfully attempted to make this very same case before an arbitrator. Though the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately will decide whether to take this case, I continue to believe that here, as with all interstate disputes, Nebraska and Kansas can resolve their disagreements without subjecting all of the states to the costs and uncertainties of litigation. We, as states, should be able to sit down and resolve our reasonable disagreements without posturing or grandstanding.”
The Republican River begins on the Eastern Plains of Colorado and runs through Nebraska and then Kansas, where it flows into the Kansas River. The Republican River Compact divides the water between the three states. Kansas filed a lawsuit against Nebraska and named Colorado as a party to the Compact in 1998. The states settled that suit in 2002. Colorado’s brief supplements the history surrounding the 1942 Republican River Compact, subsequent litigation and the actions taken by the three states following the 2002 settlement of the most recent litigation. Because Kansas has not made any claims against Colorado at this time, Colorado has not taken a position on whether the court should take this case.