The U.S. Constitution, by dividing exercisable political powers between Congress and the states, opens the doors to interstate disputes and interstate cooperation. Many disputes are settled by means of negotiations leading to entrance of the concerned states into interstate compacts and/or administrative agreements. Intractable disputes are adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court exercising its original jurisdiction.
Interstate cooperation commenced to assume greater importance in the federal system during the second decade of the twentieth century as state legislatures enacted into law interstate compacts authorizing the joint construction and operation of facilities and provision of services, and statutes empowering state officers to enter into administrative agreements with their counterparts in sister states. Today, relations between states are complex and metamorphic in nature, and interstate compacts and administrative agreements cover a wide spectrum of important economic, political, and social subjects as revealed in Chapters 4-6.
This chapter summarizes briefly the findings made in Chapters 3-6 and draws specific conclusions, based upon the findings, relative to the negotiation and effectiveness of interstate compacts and administrative agreements in harmonizing state governmental policies and promoting cooperative actions. The quintessential ingredient necessary for harmonious interstate relations is a cooperative spirit animating negotiations to resolve disputes and achieve synchronous state actions to solve transboundary problems.
Although interstate compacts are the oldest mechanism for achieving uniform state policies or joint state action, formal and informal administrative agreements today are the basis for the bulk of interstate cooperative actions