#NE Supremes: State not liable for delivery shortages due to Republican River Compact compliance

More than 9,000 Landsat images provide vegetation health metrics for the Republican River Basin. Credit: David Hyndman

From The Omaha World-Herald (Joe Duggan):

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state is immune from lawsuits when compliance with the three-state river agreement reduces the amount of water available for irrigation…

The high court upheld a district court ruling that had dismissed a lawsuit by Rodney and Steven Cappel, who own irrigated farmland in the Republican River valley in south-central Nebraska.

The Cappels showed that from 2013 to 2015 they were blocked from using surface water by the compact because the river was too low. The landowners sued the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, claiming a constitutional loss of property rights and violation of due process rights. They sought monetary damages and restitution.

Hitchcock County District Judge James Doyle dismissed the lawsuit, saying the landowners did not properly state a claim for relief. The Supreme Court upheld the dismissal, although it ruled the claims couldn’t proceed because the state had not waived immunity to such lawsuits.

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