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June 14, 2013

Cole praises Supreme Court ruling that upholds Oklahoma’s water rights

NORMAN — Congressman Tom Cole, R- Moore, said he is pleased with the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that upheld Oklahoma water rights in the case Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann.

This case challenged the terms of the Red River Compact of 1978, a congressionally sanctioned agreement allocating water rights in the Red River Basin shared by Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Tarrant County Regional Water District, which primarily serves the Dallas-Fort Worth area, brought the case to the Supreme Court in an effort to acquire water from an Oklahoma tributary.

“I am pleased by the Supreme Court’s ruling today in favor of Oklahoma’s inherent water rights as laid out in the Red River Compact,” Cole said. “This decision recognizes that as four states sharing precious water, we all have access to the water in the basin but not permission to take from whatever part we choose.

“While the Dallas-Fort Worth area is rapidly growing and understandably in need of an expanded water supply, this need does not excuse water providers from taking on our side of the river. This dishonors the terms of the agreement and violates state sovereignty.

“Fortunately, through this ruling, the Supreme Court has upheld our access and ownership of water within our state, protecting against raids on our precious Oklahoma water resources indiscriminately.”

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