Environment | Law

Supreme Court asks for DOJ brief in Oklahoma water dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the Department of Justice for its views on a water dispute affecting the state of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board, a state agency, doesn't want to sell water to the Tarrant Regional Water District in Texas. The water district claims Oklahoma has to share the water under the Red River Compact, a multi-state agreement.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Oklahoma. The water district has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the decision, leading to the request for the DOJ brief.

DOJ's views could bring tribal issues into play. The Apache Tribe has been part of the litigation and was discussed by the 10th Circuit in its September 7, 2011, decision.

Additionally, the Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation claim they own the water in the Red River and in southeastern Oklahoma under their treaties. Negotiations with the state are reportedly underway although DOJ has opposed attempts to resolve the case in state court.

The Oklahoma-Texas case is Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann.

Get the Story:
Supreme Court asks Justice Department to analyze Oklahoma water case (The Oklahoman 4/2)

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