The Norman Transcript


May 9, 2012

Water task force brings heavy hitters

NORMAN — If the task force charged with coming up with a workable solution to the state water rights fuss fails, it won’t be for lack of effort or member horsepower. The federal court hearing the tribes’ lawsuit on water rights brought together a lineup of the state’s heavyweight hitters.

The task force, among others, includes the governor, the chiefs of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes, the leaders of Devon, Continental and Chesapeake energy companies, the president of Oklahoma City University, the head of OG&E and Oklahoma City’s city manager.

That’s not a group known for procrastination, shyness or irrational behavior. Their deliberations will be secret, as so ordered by the court. Mediator Francis E. McGovern will report the task force’s proceedings to the federal court.

The proceedings follow nine months of posturing by the tribes and the state after the federal lawsuit filing by the Chickasaws and Choctaws. The two tribes are asserting they own the water rights in a 22-county watershed of southeastern Oklahoma.

The fuss started a few years back when thirsty north Texas started looking for water to serve their growing suburbs. It became cheaper to try and buy Oklahoma water than to build their own reservoirs. The courts turned Texas down, and the state asked for time to come up with a comprehensive plan before any sale is approved.

The court in March granted a 60-day delay in the proceedings so all sides could cool off and try and work together. That ends in late May, and we expect any progress by the task force could give the judge cause to extend the stay.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • James Garner will be missed

    Editor, The Transcript: Norman native son James Garner was a fine actor on stage, screen and television. I enjoyed the “Maverick” TV series and, in particular, the 1959 episode “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” in which the very popular ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014

  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014