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July 27, 2006
Foundation weighs in on water rights case
Attachments:
OFBLF Amicus Brief.pdf

The Foundation provided an amicus brief in the Heldermon v. Wright case, which has been called one the biggest challenges to the water rights system in Oklahoma.

In its brief, the Foundation stated: “OFBLF believes that the current statutory structure governing riparian rights, which provides stability, while at the same time, balances the various rights of riparian owners and appropriators, is constitutional and does not constitute a taking. OFBLF also believes that to advance the stability envisioned by the statutory framework, the term “domestic use” should be strictly construed, consistent with the intent of the riparian water statutes, and should not be expanded to mean “reasonable use.””

In November of 2006, the Oklahoma Supreme Court found that the trial court erred when it proceeded to determine the rights of the parties without proof that the Oklahoma Water Resources Board received notice of the pending suit. They saved for another day the issue of the constitutionality of Oklahoma Stream Water Use law. They vacated the Court of Civil Appeals’ opinion, reversed the district court’s judgment, and remanded the case to the trial court for proceedings to be consistent with their opinion.




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