In an effort to safeguard Oklahoma’s water resources, the State Senate voted unanimously to support House Bill 1483.
House Bill 1483 protects Oklahoma water resources and the state’s ability to provide water to its citizens in the future. Additionally, it requires legislative approval before any water compacted to Oklahoma can be permitted for out-of-state uses. Federal interstate compacts have been agreed to by the state of Oklahoma and its neighboring states and have been approved by Congress, which asserts Oklahoma’s claim to its waters.
President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee commended the unanimous approval of this vital water legislation.
“The legislation passed today strengthens our state and because our water supply is precious, safeguards were needed to ensure its use for future generations,” Pro Tem Coffee said.
Coffee added that HB 1483 restates existing law providing legislative oversight pertaining to water decisions.
Senator Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, author of the bill and chairman of the Senate Republican Rural Caucus, stressed the importance of protecting Oklahoma’s water resources and commended the Legislature for working together to solve a common problem and set goals for the future of this state.
“Water is not only imperative to rural Oklahoma but to our entire state as well,” said Justice. “The unanimous stand we made today proves this accomplishment was a team effort and the interests of Oklahomans were put first. Our water will be protected for years to come.”
Senator Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, co-author of House Bill 1483, said it was imperative that the Legislature do all they could to protect Oklahoma’s water resources.
“We know the importance of Oklahoma water and the positive economic impact it has on our state,” said Bingman. “Oklahoma will now have more control of the protection and distribution of its own water, which will help make us stronger as a state.”
The state of Oklahoma is involved in a lawsuit with Dallas and Tarrant County, Texas, who are now seeking a water permit to access clean Oklahoma water. The lawsuit claims the current statewide moratorium on out-of-state waters sales contradicts the federal Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution. This moratorium is set to expire in November with the trial currently on the docket for December.