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January 18, 2013
Brattle Economist Contributes to Favorable Ruling for State of Nebraska in Republican River Compact Dispute before the U.S. Supreme Court

An economic analysis provided by Brattle principal David Sunding helped shape a favorable decision for the State of Nebraska in a dispute with the State of Kansas over water use that flows through the Republican River. The preliminary draft of a federal report outlining recommendations on how to resolve the dispute was issued last Friday by United States Supreme Court Special Master William Kayatta. The draft report indicates that while Nebraska was found to have been in violation of the Republican River compact in 2005 and 2006, Kansas is only entitled to $5 million in damages from Nebraska, a substantially lower amount than the $80 million Kansas initially claimed it was due. Dr. Sunding presented economic testimony on behalf of the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, which quantified the economic losses sustained by Kansas as a result of Nebraska’s overuse of water during the two year period. Dr. Sunding and his team developed several related statistical analyses to demonstrate that Kansas’ claims were inflated, and also developed more realistic measures of loss, the most important of which were relied on by the Special Master in developing his recommendations for the Supreme Court.