January 31, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two Republican lawmakers from southern Oklahoma are criticizing a water agreement signed earlier this month by Gov. Mary Fallin and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Reps. Dustin Roberts of Durant and Tommy Hardin of Madill said Wednesday that they are disappointed they were not included in discussions before the memorandum of understanding was signed Jan. 17, reaffirming the states’ commitment to the Red River Compact and allowing the North Texas Municipal Water District to continue using a pump station on Lake Texoma.
Texas officials discovered last fall that the pump station was actually inside Oklahoma’s border.
“The memorandum of understanding that was signed in January does not take into consideration the current drought we are experiencing,” Roberts told The Journal Record. “The current water level is such in the lake that in the upcoming lake season, we are going to have unusable docks and ramps. It is going to be a hit to the regional economy around the lake,” he said.
“Lake tourism is vital to the district,” Hardin said. “My constituents have suffered through actions taken by the state for the past six years and to not be consulted on something that further affects their livelihoods is extremely disappointing.”
Alex Weintz, Fallin’s spokesman, told the newspaper he understood the lawmakers’ concerns, but said Fallin was trying to resolve several issues regarding the Red River Compact and avoid being forced to take a new agreement to Congress.
“We understand their concerns, but this was an opportunity to solve a problem for both states,” Weintz said.
The Red River Compact, signed in 1978 by Oklahoma, Texas and other states, is an effort to resolve and prevent disputes over waters of the Red River Basin.