Will Wilson is a former GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Things are heating up in Montana v. Wyoming . Earlier this week, the Supreme Court asked the U.S. Solicitor General for his thoughts on the matter. At issue is water usage from the Tongue and Powder Rivers that cross from Wyoming into Montana.
The 1950 Yellowstone River Compact was meant to settle this problem, but more efficient irrigation systems and the recent drought have lowered the rivers. Wyoming says that Montana sued too quickly and should have let the Yellowstone River Compact Commission decide. Montana says that wars have been fought for less.
Inasmuch as climate change and technological advance play a part in this mess, it will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court handles the case. The rule of law is fantabulous, but is it socially optimal to drag a fundamentally economic, political, and scientific issue straight to nine lawyers? Do all similar issues need to be settled via litigation and obsolete agreements?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.