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Okla. Lawmakers Discuss State's Water Future (Sep 21, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - A legislative panel helping to develop the next 50 years of water policy for the state heard about priorities from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, but as KGOU’s Kurt Gwartney reports, whatever the legislative committee decides is unlikely to be the final answer on the issue.

“Seeking balance” is how the head of the water quality division of the state’s top water agency described the way to preserve water in streams and lakes while also providing enough water for agriculture, petroleum production and industrial usage.

But despite assurances from the director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board that all interested parties were represented in the study, State Sen. Brian Crain (R-Tulsa) said the information presented today made that less clear.

"I don't understand what's being said here," Crain said. "Additionally, what is being said is being disputed by people that were part of this broad consensus. I'm very reluctant to say, 'Sure, I'll go ahead and argue this point and do whatever I can to support you' when I don't understand what we're talking about."

Speaking to reporters before Wednesday's hearing, House Speaker Kris Steele (R-Shawnee) said questions about the plan are good, but he also said criticism that could lead to inaction on a water plan is not welcome.


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