Oklahoma water rights suit moved to federal court

OKLAHOMA CITY,OK. (AP) - The U.S. Justice Department says a lawsuit over the water rights of three major stream systems in southeastern Oklahoma should be heard in federal court.

The Oklahoman reports the department filed a notice Monday to remove the case from the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt sued on behalf of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, asking the court to decide whether the state or the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes had the right to use the stream and surface water.

Leaders of the tribe say they're pleased with the move, while the attorney general's office says it's still reviewing the decision.

The Justice Department says that hearing the case in federal court will conserve judicial resources because the tribes have already filed a separate federal lawsuit over the matter.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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