Okla. AG wants SC action on water rights

Bryan Cohen Feb. 14, 2012, 1:56pm


OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) - Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed a lawsuit on Friday requesting that the Oklahoma Supreme Court begin stream adjudication to determine the rights for water in three major southeastern Oklahoma streams.

Pruitt's office filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and Governor Mary Fallin. Pruitt's office also filed motions to dismiss a federal court case filed by the tribal nations based on the court's lack of jurisdiction in addition to other legal grounds.

"It's our obligation to protect the rights of the state and all of its citizens," Pruitt said. "Unfortunately, tribal leaders chose to initiate litigation, calling Oklahomans' water rights into question. So today, we filed an application with the Oklahoma Supreme Court to begin the process of adjudication, which will confirm those water rights. Mediation continues to be a viable option in this case, and we remain hopeful an agreement can be reached."

A brief filed by Pruitt's office alleges that despite the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations' recent public relations campaign about being the stewards of the land and protectors of the water, their actions have said otherwise. The brief alleges that the Choctaw Nation commissioned a study on how much money could be made selling water in Oklahoma to Texas and that many of the actions of the nations seem to be much more about earning a profit than protection of natural resources.

More News