MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

April 22, 2013

Oklahoma-Texas water fight headed to Supreme Court

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A water rights dispute between Oklahoma and Texas will go before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, a case officials say could clear up confusion about the right of one state to claim part of a waterway that flows through a neighboring state.

The Tarrant Regional Water District, which serves an 11-county area in north central Texas including Fort Worth, Arlington and surrounding areas, wants to purchase more than 460,000 acre-feet of water — about 150 billion gallons — from southeastern Oklahoma tributaries of the Red River that separates Oklahoma and Texas.

District officials maintain that Oklahoma has more than 10 times the water it needs to meet its own needs and the district wants only about 6 percent of water flowing into the Red River — water that eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. They say drawing water directly from the river is not financially feasible because of salinity issues.

But the water district’s plans have been blocked by Oklahoma laws that govern the use of water within its borders, including a moratorium on out-of-state water sales.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt has said his office will fight “to protect its natural resources.” But an attorney for the water district, Tim Bishop, said he is optimistic about the case. Oral arguments are scheduled Tuesday.

Bishop said the water district has the support of the Office of the Solicitor General, which represents the U.S. Justice Department before the Supreme Court.

The water district filed a federal lawsuit in 2007 against the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Oklahoma Water Conservation Storage Commission that challenges the state’s water laws and seeks an injunction to prevent the board from enforcing them. The Texas water district claims the statutes pose a burden to interstate commerce.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in July 2010, a decision that was upheld by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal last year. It found that the Red River Compact, which governs the use of water in the basin that includes Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, protects Oklahoma’s water statutes from the legal challenge.

Attorneys for Oklahoma have argued that the water issue should be decided by the Red River Compact Commission.

1
Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks