State officials reacted Thursday to the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision that Texas can't reach across the border for water without Oklahoma's consent.
Gov. Mary Fallin:
“Today's ruling is great news for the state of Oklahoma and yet another victory in the effort to protect our state's water resources. We've maintained all along that Oklahoma must have the ability to set its own water policy and today's unanimous Supreme Court decision solidifies that position.”
J.D. Strong, executive director, Oklahoma Water Resources Board:
“Obviously, today's unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is vindication for Oklahoma and the two neighboring Red River Compact states who joined with us to hold Texas accountable to the promises and provisions of our 33-year-old compact agreement.
“It's also a victory for the seven mostly arid western states who sided with Oklahoma and stood to lose at least as much control over their limited surface water supplies … After many years of legal maneuvering and saber-rattling, this should end, once and for all, Tarrant's attempts to circumvent Oklahoma's water management authority.”
Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa:
“Having adequate water supplies is critical to our state's ability to create and attract more jobs, promoting even greater economic growth.
“We also understand the importance of developing a long-term water plan to meet our citizens' needs. It's why I helped create the Joint Legislative Water Committee in 2011 that included members from every part of Oklahoma. We also must continue to work with the tribes on this crucial issue — but all of these efforts would be completely undermined if another state had the ability to take Oklahoma's water whether we agreed or not.”
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville:
“Oklahoma's water should be kept in Oklahoma for our economic development, agricultural uses and recreation. Given the drought we have experienced, we must protect our water supply.”
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City:
“States can enter into agreements to enable other states to purchase resources when they choose. However, these compacts do not require states to share resources in perpetuity. I am glad the Supreme Court recognized Oklahoma's right to choose when and with whom to do business.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore:
“While the Dallas-Fort Worth area is rapidly growing and understandably in need of an expanded water supply, this need does not excuse water providers from taking on our side of the river. This dishonors the terms of the agreement and violates state sovereignty. Fortunately through this ruling, the Supreme Court has upheld our access and ownership of water within our state, protecting against raids on our precious Oklahoma water resources indiscriminately.”
State Sen. Josh Breechen, R-Coalgate:
“This is a hard-won victory for Oklahomans as the compact was never meant to be interpreted to allow Texas to secure their allocation by disregarding our state boundaries. This decision affirms that and consequently injects confidence in relation to other state compacts.”
State Sen. Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant:
“Hopefully today's decision will bring some closure on this issue. We look forward to continuing our work on water issues here in Oklahoma.”
State Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City:
“This ruling hopefully will set the stage for all parties on the other water lawsuit and enable Oklahoma City and the tribes to work together to reach an amicable resolution. It is a huge development in every state's ability to control the assets of our natural resources within our borders. Over the next 50 to 100 years, water will be an increasingly vital resource for all Oklahomans.”