The Norman Transcript

Opinion

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.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • A dip in optimism

    Midwestern and Plains states remained in the positive column in a recent economic survey index, but Oklahoma pessimism is beginning to bog them down. The Sooner State’s index dropped from 66.6 to 54.9 from June to July, still in positive ...

    August 2, 2014

  • Invest in more clean energy

    Editor, The Transcript: Ken Miller’s July 19 article, “Okla. Wheat Crop Worst in Nearly half a century,” states the economic hardship that the current drought is having on Oklahoma wheat farmers, who have been forced to feed their wheat to ...

    August 2, 2014

  • Sign petition to put shelters in schools

    Every successful grassroots initiative requires a plethora of volunteers who are willing to do whatever it takes, and the movement to build storm shelters in every Oklahoma public school is no different....

    August 2, 2014

  • Polls that really matter

    The pre-season college football polls make for good reading in the summer months. Coaches and football beat writers weigh in regularly on who they think are the nation’s top teams....

    August 2, 2014

  • Tax free starts today

    A few years ago, Oklahoma shoppers were getting used to driving south to take advantage of Texas’ tax-free weekend. The outlet mall on Interstate 35 near Gainesville was packed with as many Oklahoma tagged cars as those from Texas....

    August 1, 2014

  • Just wondering about things

    Editor, The Transcript: Why are our companies still investing so much in China, now that they own over a trillion dollars of our debt? Why is China pouring billions into their military and threatening many of their neighbors? Why don’t we ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Top conservatives, liberals

    Three local lawmakers made the lists of top 10 conservatives and top 10 liberals in the Oklahoma Constitution’s 2014 Conservative Index. Editor Steve Byas reported that it’s the 36th year for the publication’s index....

    August 1, 2014

  • Marijuana a gateway for new OK voters

    A poll this past year showed significant Oklahoma support for legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The poll showed that more than 71 percent of those surveyed thought medical marijuana was appropriate for patients who ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Expansion effect evaluated

    Editor, The Transcript: The effect of the Medicaid expansion rejection and acceptance on hospitals’ uncompensated costs are now being evaluated....

    July 31, 2014

  • America paying the piper

    Every third American you pass on the street has debts that have been turned over to a collection agency whose 140,000 workers are keeping the phones ringing....

    July 31, 2014