Oklahoma AG seeks dismissal of Texas water lawsuit

Chris Rizo Jul. 11, 2009, 2:14am

Drew Edmondson (D)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (Legal Newsline) - The Oklahoma attorney general's office asked a federal judge Friday to toss out a lawsuit filed by a Texas water district that claims it has the right to buy billions of gallons of water in Oklahoma.

The lawsuit by the Tarrant Regional Water District against members of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board was filed in January 2007.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson's office filed a motion Friday to dismiss the lawsuit, which is set for trial Dec. 7.

The Tarrant Regional Water District, based in north central Texas, claims that Oklahoma's moratorium on out-of-state water sales is unconstitutional.

The attorney general's office said that because of a law that passed in May that effectively repealed the moratorium, the water issue should now be decided by the Red River Compact Commission, which was created by Congress in 1980 to apportion water that flows along the Red River.

The 1979 Red River Compact is among Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

"To the extent that there are questions regarding the interpretation of the compact, these interpretations must be made, in the first instance, by the Compact Commission, the administrative body with primary jurisdiction over the matter," the AG's motion said.

The Tarrant Regional Water District has applied to purchase up to 150 billion gallons of water from Red River tributaries. The water would be transported through pipelines and pumping stations, which have yet to be built.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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