Oklahoma water rights suit moved to federal court

OKLAHOMA CITY (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 (http://is.gd/k5JkR8) 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.


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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  • by Mork Location: Ork on Mar 15, 2012 at 01:13 PM
    You can bet your sweet Bingo card this water is for sale. They just haven't come to the right price yet. Slot Machine Falls and All-In River. Firewater!
  • by Dot on Mar 13, 2012 at 08:41 PM
    "...as long as the grass shall grow and the waters shall flow". Wasn't that what the treaties with Pres. Jackson said?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 14, 2012 at 09:35 AM in reply to Dot
      Not hardly. Those were the terms of the treaties with the Sioux in regard to the Black Hills, which pretty much became null and void when gold was discovered. The treaties with the Choctaw and Chickasaw were much different and negotiated repeatedly over years. The issue today is whether or not treaties prior to the civil war in which such water rights were guaranteed still hold today after the tribes abrogated the treaties and rebelled with the Confederacy. Following the surrender, the new treaties weren't at all clear on the subject of such water rights. Today, reservoir is not tribal held land, they did not pay to build the reservoir, and they own very little of the land in the watershed of the reservoir. But, they want the right to some of the proceeds from selling the water, though they don't come right and say it. It's about 'preserving the sacred lands and managing the resources' (money)I personally think they are overreaching and putting at risk their very beneficial relationship to the state government and OK voters. The right to casino gambling can be given and can also be taken away as can rights to sell as the sacred right to sell alcohol in casinos.
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