Diverse Group Responds to Comprehensive Water PlanThu, 09 Feb 2012 15:14:26 CST
The State Chamber of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Municipal League, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Oklahoma Aggregates Association, Environmental Federation of Oklahoma and Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association of Oklahoma have joined together in a response to the recently-released statewide Comprehensive Water Plan.
The groups distributed a position paper to lawmakers today laying out specific recommendations and areas of concern found within the plan, released late last year by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.
As outlined in the paper, it is feared that many of the recommendations in the plan will increase the size of government, increase costs, adversely impact existing water rights, encroach on private property rights and create artificial water shortages, among other concerns.
“Water is a valuable resource and we support a thoughtful and deliberative process to ensure that the state’s rich supply of water is beneficially developed, used and enjoyed by all Oklahomans,” said State Chamber President Fred Morgan. “We want to make sure lawmakers are aware of all of the considerations as they study this critical issue for our state.”
The paper outlines group support of the following recommendations:
--Funding for water projects and infrastructure.
--Opportunities for regular input from the public regarding water use.
--Regular monitoring of water quality.
--Encouraging voluntary initiatives for water conservation, efficiency, recycling and reuse.
--The Legislature’s efforts to establish a unified water policy for the state.
"Oklahoma's current water law structure has allowed Oklahoma agriculture to provide food and fiber for a growing world population, while significantly contributing to Oklahoma's economy,” said Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling. “Caution should be exercised when considering any changes."
The groups included in this joint position represent large water users in Oklahoma. Together in the paper, the groups urge caution before major changes are made to Oklahoma’s water law.
"Our greatest fear is that access to the state's abundant water supplies will be limited for Oklahomans," said Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association President Mike Terry. "Oklahoma is blessed with wonderful resources, including water. We are not running out. Efforts to curtail or limit water access to water users in the state, including the oil and natural gas industry, hampers the growth of Oklahoma businesses and makes it more difficult to recruit new businesses and industries to Oklahoma."
To see the full joint response that was distributed to lawmakers this week, click here.
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