Local lawmaker upset with Tishomingo water ruling

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JOHNSTON COUNTY, Okla. -- Judge Thomas Walker has ruled a Texas mining company can continue to take water from an Oklahoma aquifer, and a local lawmaker is not happy.

Johnston County Judge Thomas Walker has ruled Texas company Meridian Aggregates can continue using water from the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer.

Senator Jay Paul Gumm disagrees.

“In my judgment, attempting to have a court rule this way and attempting legislatively to take the water resources board out of the decision making process, Meridian Aggregates is putting itself above the community I represent," said Gumm.

Last year the Oklahoma Water Resources Board granted the mining company the use of more than 89 million gallons of water annually, but they wanted more. Since Judge Walkers ruling, Meridian can continue taking water from the aquifer which springs up into the mines.

“To strip legislatively power from the board and put it in the mining commission, that’s like asking the fox to guard the hen house. It’s bad legislation and I have grave concerns about the court ruling," Gumm added.

Several counties around Texoma rely on the aquifer for their water. Senator Gumm says if nothing is done to reverse the ruling, the livelihood of Southern Oklahoma becomes a serious concern.

“We have to preserve the long term future of Southern Oklahoma. No single company, no single group, should stand above the long term future of the entire region."

Senator Gumm says any company that pumps water out of the aquifer is regulated and Meridian should not be the exception.

"I have already put in a request to get the full opinion to see what option are available. Then we will look and see what legislative options we have."

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