From the Washington Examiner:
The tribes say the waters of southeastern Oklahoma belong to them and have since Sept. 27, 1830, when Maj. John H. Eaton, Gen. John Coffee, Musholatubbee, Nittucachee and dozens of other U.S. and tribal representatives signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek.
Subsequent treaties affirmed those rights, said Michael Burrage, the tribes' attorney and a former federal judge.
"It's the position of the Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation that the state of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board have absolutely no jurisdiction, because of the sovereignty rights granted in the treaty, to control any of the in-territory water," and clearly have no authority to allow water exports, Burrage said.
Oklahoma has not filed its reply to the suit.
If the tribes prevail, Burrage said, they would become the governing authority over the water. The treaty supersedes state and federal laws and the interstate Red River compact, he said.
Existing users have been assured they wouldn't lose water, Burrage said, adding that the tribes aren't asserting their water rights in order to make money. They want to establish their sovereignty and make sure the water is protected and used wisely, based on a tribal study to be completed soon, he said.
Burrage was asked whether a water planner in North Texas, seeking ways to supply water to millions of people, should view the tribes' lawsuit as good news or bad.
"I can't answer that," he said.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2011/09/north-texas-seeks-oklahoma-rivers-water-source#ixzz1YtF1qvWG
North Texas seeks Oklahoma rivers as water source | The Associated Press | News | Washington Examiner