McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

November 20, 2013

OWRB rejects request to change order on caps

Oklahoma City — The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is sticking with its order setting new limits on the amount of water that can be taken out of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.

The board voted 4-1 Tuesday to deny a request to reconsider the order, which capped the aquifer’s maximum annual yield at 78,404 acre feet. Two members of the nine-person board abstained from voting. Two were absent.

Krystina Phillips, an attorney representing the advocacy group Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, said she was pleased with the board’s decision.

“We think it’s the right one,” she said after the meeting.

Sulphur resident Carolyn Sparks, who had asked the board to take another look at the order, said she was disappointed that the board rejected her request.

“Once again, they’ve taken my groundwater and given it to people downstream,” she said.

The board’s action Tuesday clears the way for the courts to review the MAY order.

CPASA and a group opposing the order have asked for a judicial review of the order, but for different reasons.  CPASA wants the court to identify which documents are part of the administrative record and incorporate additional evidence.

Organizations opposing the order are seeking a court review because they believe that the MAY violates landowners’ property rights.

Both sides are awaiting a ruling on whether the case should be transferred from Oklahoma County to Pontotoc County.

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