After Supreme Court ruling, we must still protect Oklahoma’s water

To The Editor:

“Even though I am elated by the recent U.S. Supreme court decision, which favored Oklahoma in a 9-0 vote by the justices, I am still wary of Texas’s intentions with our water, and still very concerned about keeping Oklahoma water in Oklahoma. 

The unanimous SCOTUS decision only keeps Texas from crossing into Oklahoma to take Oklahoma's water, or from forcing Oklahoma to sell water to a Texas entity.  Nothing about the settlement of this case protects Oklahomans from the greed or misguided beliefs of other Oklahomans.

There are currently eight lobbyists registered with the Oklahoma State Ethics Commission that are registered with the Tarrant County, Texas water district, the same entity that unsuccessfully sued  us over Oklahoma's water in the U.S. Supreme Court. Unfortunately, we have quite a few Oklahoma legislators who are still more than willing to sell our water to Texas. 

These legislators talk about the vast quantity of water flowing out of our state. They seem to have amnesia about the recent drought that all but dried up Southeast Oklahoma. They also seem to be lost when it comes to water quality and the effects selling our water would have on our neighbor states.

In other words, those who would still sell Oklahoma’s water fail to understand the following: if large quantities of fresh water are removed from Southeastern Oklahoma and not allowed to flow into the Red River, it would affect the water quality that flows to Arkansas and Louisiana, who are both guaranteed a certain amount of that water from the Red River Compact, the congressionally authorized multi-state agreement which the Supreme Court used as the basis for their decision in favor of Oklahoma.

Arkansas relies on our water to mitigate the quality of water in their vast agricultural irrigation systems. Likewise, the quality of Louisiana’s drinking water and the quantity of water for their navigation systems depends on the water they receive from Oklahoma. In other words, much relies upon maintaining the careful balance created and agreed upon in the Red River Compact, affecting many surrounding states. We must remain cautious and vigilant to maintain this balance, even after the Supreme Court ruling.

I also see these legislators using the sale of this water to further their agenda to eliminate Oklahoma’s state personal income tax.  It's clear to me  they think  playing income tax roulette is necessary for them to stay in power in Oklahoma. 

After being involved in water issues for the last 7-8 years, I believe selling water out of state is a dangerous idea that is destructive to the future of Oklahoma and I plan to vigorously fight any and all attempts to do so!” 


Sincerely, Brian Renegar

Note: Renegar, a Democrat from McAlester, represents District 17 at the state Capitol. 

Rep. Brian Renegar

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