Dec 5, 2013 The Associated Press

Water trial wraps up

BILLINGS, Mont. -- Attorneys have wrapped up a marathon 25-day trial in which Montana sought to hold neighboring Wyoming liable for taking too much water from the Yellowstone River basin.

An initial decision is expected in mid-2014 from the U.S. Supreme Court appointee overseeing the dispute. The high court will have the final say.

Montana claims Wyoming has violated an interstate agreement 10 times since 1981 by taking more than its share of water from the Tongue River, a Yellowstone tributary. The state says that's left farmers' fields dry.

Wyoming counters that Montana officials formally requested more water only twice. In both instances, attorneys for Wyoming argue that there was no clear evidence of harm.

Farmers and ranchers on both sides of the border are dependent on the Tongue River for irrigation.

Trial moved to Thermopolis

The second trial of a Casper man accused of shooting his wife to death after she fled to a neighbor's house is being moved to Thermopolis.

Thomas Miller's first trial ended in a mistrial after Natalie Miller's mother broached a topic previously deemed off-limits in court. She claimed that Thomas Miller had previously had an affair with his cousin, something the judge had previously ruled was off limits.

Miller's lawyer, Robert Oldham, said Hot Springs County was picked for the new trial because it doesn't have a sitting judge who uses the courtroom every day.

A former president of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, Jason Tangeman, says venue changes are rare but not unheard of in Wyoming. He could recall about two cases in 15 years.

Battle Pass closed for season

Blowing snow and poor visibility have forced the Wyoming Department of Transportation to close the highway over Battle Pass, between Encampment and Baggs.

The closure of Battle Pass follows the earlier closure of the highway over the Snowy Range, between Laramie and Saratoga.

In-state uranium regs studied

Wyoming would need six years and $4.5 million to take over regulation of the state's uranium industry from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, according to a new report released by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

Wyoming legislators requested the analysis. Lawmakers and uranium producers say federal permitting delays have kept Wyoming from cashing in on high uranium prices.

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