March 10 2009, 9:40 AM
Thank Colorado Attorney General John Suthers for one budget-saving maneuver that won't leave state lawmakers with a headache. The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Suthers in a dispute over whether Colorado should pay $9 million for Kansas' expert witnesses in a long-running water battle, according to Legal Newsline. Suthers argued that Kansas was responsible for paying the fees because it was the prevailing party in a battle over the rights to Arkansas River water. Kansas Attorney General Steve Six had urged justices to overturn earlier rulings that limited what Colorado had to pay Kansas for breaking the water agreement, signed in 1949.Â Back in 2003, Colorado paid Kansas more than $34 million in damages and interest for taking too much water between 1950 and 1996. The court, in its opinion Monday, held that fees for expert witnesses should be about $163,000 and not what Kansas was claiming, according to The Associated Press.