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60-day stay not enough to settle Oklahoma water rights lawsuit, officials say

The 60-day stay granted in the federal water rights lawsuit filed by two Oklahoma Indian tribes is expected to be extended when the initial time frame ends next week, according to the attorney general's office.
by Andrew Knittle Published: May 19, 2012

A 60-day stay granted in the federal water rights lawsuit filed by two Oklahoma Indian tribes is expected to be extended, the state attorney general's office reported.

The stay was granted March 27, but the two sides have yet to reach an agreement. The initial stay is set to end in late May.

The Chickasaw and Choctaw nations filed a lawsuit in federal court in August, essentially laying claim to the water rights in much of southeastern Oklahoma. The state filed a suit of its own, in state court, before a federal judge took the unusual step of moving the case to federal court.

The 60-day stay was granted roughly two weeks later.

Patrick Wyrick, one of the attorneys heading up the negotiations for the attorney general's office, said the state is working to extend the stay issued by a federal judge.

Stephen Greetham, chief general counsel for the Chickasaw Nation, said he couldn't comment about whether the stay would be extended, but said the tribes remain committed to the ongoing negotiations.

“We want to see this mediation process work,” he said. “We want to see it take root. We want to see it succeed.”

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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