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Wyoming State Engineer says Wyoming/Montana dispute over Tongue River likely to last into 2016

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CHEYENNE, Wyoming — The Wyoming State Engineer says he expects it may take a year to resolve the legal dispute between Wyoming and Montana over water rights on the Tongue River.

Montana sued in 2007 claiming Wyoming had been shorting deliveries on the river for decades. It flows north before joining the Yellowstone River in Montana.

A special master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this winter Wyoming had shorted deliveries on only two years and that damages were small.

Montana recently urged the court to reject the special master's recommendation that it wasn't necessary to determine how much water Montana has a right to store in the Tongue River Reservoir.

Wyoming State Engineer Pat Tyrrell says the Supreme Court will likely decide this fall whether it needs to hear more arguments.

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