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Tribal leaders are hopeful about ongoing discussions on Oklahoma's water use

The governor of the Chickasaw Nation said both sides have time to focus on resolving the issue now that a claim for Oklahoma water by Texas has been addressed.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: July 17, 2013 at 9:24 pm •  Published: July 17, 2013
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All involved in the mediation talks are limited on what they can say because of a gag order that's been put in place by a federal judge.

Asked for a comment, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, through a spokesman, seemed encouraged.

“The governor is optimistic these negotiations are moving in the right direction and will result in a resolution that is fair to all Oklahomans,” said Alex Weintz, her communications director.

During his talk to lieutenant governors, Anoatubby talked about partnerships between his tribe and the state and an increasing tendency in the past 25 years to work together.

Asked why his tribe filed the lawsuit, Anoatubby said, “It's about all of us in southeastern Oklahoma, the tribes and the communities, making sure there's equity, making sure the resource is protected and that we have long-term sustainability.”

McClain, who also spoke to the lieutenant governors, said it's difficult to say how close the sides are to a resolution.

“I think the governor (Anoatubby) said it right,” McClain said. “We're after a long-term solution so you don't try to put a time frame on anything you're trying to do for long term. And that's where we're all at.”