A federal appeals court panel has found that irrigators along Nebraska's Niobrara River did not have their rights violated when the state ordered them to shut off their pumps in 2007.
In a ruling Monday, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2010 ruling by U.S. District Judge Lyle Strom in favor of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the Nebraska Public Power District.
Strom ruled that the department did not violate the irrigators' property rights by shutting down their water use to allow the power district to use its senior water rights to produce electricity.
The appeals panel agreed that while irrigators have property rights related to water, they are subject to rights of senior users such as the power district.