Lawmakers question validity of Lake Texoma MOU

By: Helen Headlee Email
By: Helen Headlee Email

MARSHALL COUNTY, OK - The ever-expanding shores of Lake Texoma show that the drought is drying up the lake and hurting area businesses, like Sparky's Guide Service.

"We're still fishing but it just has caused a lot of, you know it's more expense on us, it's a lot of hardships," said Larry "Sparky" Sparks, who says his striper guide business depends on lake levels.

A few months ago Governors Mary Fallin and Rick Perry signed a memorandum of understanding stating that while some Texas pumps are pumping on the Oklahoma side both states will continue pumping the same amount of water they always have.

Representative Tommy Hardin said he's questioning the validity of this agreement.

"It kind of raises some legal questions to me, are there state laws or federal laws that affect pumping water across state lines?" said Hardin.

That's why Hardin and fellow state representative Dustin Roberts sent a letter to the director of the Oklahoma Water Resource Board concerning the memorandum of understanding citing several regulations.

The lawmakers question whether Texas had applied for -- and had been granted -- a permit by the Board to take water out of Oklahoma.
They also ask whether constituents have been given a considerable chance to appeal or protest the consensus. Finally, they questioned how the state can allow Texas to use water when it could hurt the Oklahoma economy--especially tourism.

"It takes legislative action to be able to take water across state lines, some things that need to be addressed there through the legislative body that we weren't even informed about," said Hardin

Hardin said he's helped author a bill that's now in the Senate with language that would make the Oklahoma Water Resources Board take drought conditions into consideration before granting water permits.


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