WPR News
7:42 pm
Tue February 22, 2005

Governors from Montana and Wyoming Discuss Water Rights

Laramie, Wy – No progress Tuesday on a water
rights dispute between Montana and Wyoming that could end up in court.
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer met today in Helena with Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, to discuss water rights on the Tongue, Powder and Little Powder rivers. They flow from Wyoming into Montana, and Montana officials say most pre-1950 water rights in Montana aren't being met.
Wyoming interprets the compact as allocating only post-1950 water rights.
The director of Montana's Department of Environmental Quality -- Richard Opper -- says Montana is also concerned about the salt content of water coming into the state. Coal-bed methane production in the area can increase salinity of the water.
Litigation has been threatened, but Freudenthal says he hopes to avoid that.
Officials of the two states plan to meet again next month.