The Formal Hearing for the Tentative Determination of Maximum Annual Yield for the Arbuckle-Simpson Groundwater Basin (TMAY Hearing) was held at the Murray County Expo Center on May 15th and 16th. CPASA joined a number of other parties supporting the TMAY Determination approved by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB), including the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the City of Ada, the City of Durant, the City of Sulphur, the City of Tishomingo, the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club, and approximately 300 local citizens.
Appearing in opposition to the TMAY Determination was the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Pontotoc County Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Oklahoma Aggregates Association, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, TXI, U.S. Silica, Environmental Federation of Oklahoma, Inc., and Arbuckle-Simpson Environmental Federation of Oklahoma, Inc. (herein “Corporate Interests”). Other opposition included the Arbuckle-Simpson Landowners Group and a number of individuals.
The Corporate Interests hired three experts to attack the OWRB’s TMAY Determination, although only two experts actually testified, in an effort to unravel Senate Bill 288 and to call into question the six-year, multi-million dollar, peer-reviewed scientific study conducted by the OWRB, U.S. Geologic Survey, and others. CPASA and other supporters vigorously defended the scientific study, which is the most comprehensive and detailed investigation of any groundwater basin in the State of Oklahoma.
Others in opposition to the TMAY Determination argued it was a wrongful taking of private property. However, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma has long held the OWRB’s regulation of groundwater is constitutional and thus not a takings of private property rights. CPASA’s position on the issue remains the same—the TMAY Determination protects private property rights. Without a final maximum annual yield (MAY) determination, the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer’s groundwater is in danger of being drained by over-pumping. Thus, CPASA believes that the TMAY Determination—and, ultimately, the final MAY determination—protects private property rights by ensuring property owners always have groundwater beneath their land.
The administrative record will remain open until May 31st. Accordingly, if you were unable to attend the TMAY Hearing, you may still submit comments to the OWRB until 5:00 pm, May 31, 2012. After the record closes, the Hearing Examiner will review the information presented and submit a formal recommendation to the OWRB on whether the TMAY Determination should be approved. After the recommendation is made, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board shall then make a final determination on the maximum annual yield for the Arbuckle-Simpson Groundwater Basin.
This info and photo was provided to us by Citizens For The Protection Of The Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer (CPASA). Please contact CPASA for more info.