The crippling five-year drought Oklahoma finally broke out of in 2015 is still fresh in the memory of the state’s water regulators, which is looking for ways the state can better withstand future dry spells.
J.D. Strong has been an important player in Oklahoma water issues for many years, and served as Executive Director of the state water regulator since 2010. Earlier this year he left the Water Resources Board to head the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The deal, announced Thursday, clears a path for Oklahoma City to pump water out of Sardis Lake — a plan city officials say is essential to meeting the metropolitan area’s long-term water needs — which the tribes blocked with a 2011 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
“This should have been the easiest kind of transaction, one we’ve done hundreds of times,” says John “Rocky” Barrett, chairman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
Renegar wrote on behalf of Representatives Donnie Condit, Ed Cannaday, and Johnny Tadlock, all from southeast Oklahoma.
The $6.8 billion presumptive budget agreement has been praised for preserving money for education, prisons and Medicaid, but some of the sharpest cuts are aimed at agencies that regulate industry and protect the environment.
A proper town needs a reliable sewer system. So tiny Corn, Oklahoma, has a big problem.
It’s up to the state to make sure Oklahoma’s lakes and rivers are safe, but budget cuts are threatening that mission.
The court was hearing an appeal of the limit from groups including the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Oklahoma Aggregates Association, and mining company TXI.