Kansas v. Colorado, 514 U.S. 673, 11 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 673 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

the terms of the Compact.3 Article IV-D provides that the Compact is not intended to prevent future beneficial development of the Arkansas River basin—including dams and reservoirs—provided that the river flow shall not be materially depleted. The Compact thus permits the development of projects such as Pueblo Reservoir so long as their operation does not result in a material depletion of usable flow to Kansas users. For Kansas to prevail in its contention, it would have to show that the Operating Principles had the effect of amending the Compact by granting either party the right to sue the other for violation of the Operating Principles even though the violation resulted in no material depletion of usable flow at stateline. Although the Administration is empowered to "[p]rescribe procedures for the administration of th[e] Compact," App. to Report 11 (Article VIII-B(2)), it must do so "consistent with the provisions of th[e] Compact," ibid. (Article VIII-B(1)) (emphasis added); see also Report 416 ("[T]he Compact Administration was not delegated power to change the Compact"). The theory advocated by Kansas is inconsistent with Article IV-D, which allows for the development and operation of dams and reservoirs so long as there is no resultant material depletion of usable flows at stateline.

Thus Kansas, in order to establish a Compact violation based upon failure to obey the Operating Principles, was required to demonstrate that this failure resulted in a material depletion under Article IV-D. Kansas "has not established, and did not attempt to establish, such injury." Id., at 431. We overrule Kansas' exception to the Special Master's dismissal of its Trinidad Reservoir claim.

3 The Special Master did "not address the possible question of whether Kansas has a claim for violation of the Operating Principles that is independent of the Compact, that is, a cause of action based upon a separate agreement with Colorado, or as a third party beneficiary under the repayment contract, or otherwise." Report 408, n. 6. We express no view as to that question.


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