McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

June 17, 2013

U.S Supreme Court rules for Oklahoma in water dispute with Texas

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — The U.S, Supreme Court has rebuffed a decades-long attempt by Texas to seize water from Southeastern Oklahoma, primarily from the Kiamichi River Basin.

It marks the culmination of a fight that began in Southeastern Oklahoma, primarily around Clayton and the Sardis Lake area, then spread to Wilburton, McAlester and then to other parts of Oklahoma.

In a ruling issued Thursday morning in Washington D.C., the Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled that the Red River Compact does not give Texas the right to cross the border and take Oklahoma’s water.

“I’m just tickled to death,” District 17 state Rep. Dr. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, who filed and amicus brief in the case, essentially providing additional information for the high court to consider.

In the lawsuit, the Tarrant Regional Water District sought to force the sale of 150 billion gallons of Southeastern Oklahoma water to the district, which includes Fort Worth, Texas.

In a 2007 federal lawsuit, the Texas Water District    challenged the authority of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Oklahoma Water Conservation Storage Commission to enforce the state’s laws.

In an opinion for the court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote “We hold that Tarrant’s claims lack merit.”

States participating in the Red River Compact include Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.



Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

 

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