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U.S. Supreme Court Sides with Oklahoma In Dispute with Texas Water District

On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld lower court rulings in Tarrant Regional Water District v. Hermann, holding that Oklahoma water laws validly barred the export of state water. The petitioner in the case is the Tarrant Regional Water District; the appellees are officers of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Oklahoma Water Conservation Storage Commission. 

The litigation centered on the conflict between Oklahoma statutes regarding water use which, among other things, prevents Oklahoma state entities from selling water for out-of-state use, and the Red River Compact among Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, which allocates the water in the Red River Basin among those states and was ratified by the U.S. Congress in 1980.

The petitioners sought a judgment declaring that the certain Oklahoma statutes violated the Commerce and Supremacy Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, and an injunction to prevent application of the Oklahoma statutes. Both the trial court and the 10th Circuit dismissed petitioner’s claims. In the opinion, the Supreme Court upheld the lower courts, finding that the Oklahoma statutes are not preempted by the Red River Compact.

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About this Author

Daniel M. Krainin, Environmental Attorney, Beveridge Diamond Law Firm

Daniel M. Krainin is a Principal in the New York office of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.  He was named to the 2011 and 2012 Super Lawyers list for the New York Metropolitan area, holds an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and serves as a Vice Chair of the ABA Environment Section's Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee.

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Edward Grauman, Environmental Lawyer, Beveridge & Diamond Law Firm

Edward M. Grauman’s practice focuses on high-stakes, complex commercial and environmental litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. He works with clients across a wide spectrum of industries, including chemicals, consumer products, financial services, high tech, insurance, media, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, security services, and telecommunications. His experience across industries and subject-matter areas gives him a deep understanding of the business considerations involved in large-scale disputes and enables him to provide clients with sound strategic and tactical advice.

Karen Hansen, Environmental Lawyer, Beveridge & Diamond Law Firm

Karen M. Hansen’s environmental law practice focuses on the Clean Water Act and state programs for regulating and permitting water discharges and water supply/use.  She has extensive experience assisting industrial and municipal clients in preparing strategies for and pursuing water permits for ongoing operations, expansions and new operations, including permit challenges. Ms. Hansen also represents clients that must defend CWA and state water law enforcement actions, including claims pursued by governmental as well as third party entities. She recently led a multi...

Madeleine Boyer Kadas, Environmental Lawyer, Beveridge & Diamond Law Firm

Maddie Kadas brings over twenty years of experience advising multinational corporations on U.S. and international environmental matters. She founded the Firm’s Austin, TX office and served as its first Managing Shareholder.

Maddie represents clients on a variety of regulatory and enforcement matters under U.S. and Texas environmental laws, with a focus on air and waste issues affecting the chemical manufacturing and petroleum refining sectors. Fluent in Spanish, Maddie assists industrial sector clients on the full range of environmental, health...

Laura LaValle, Environmental Lawyer, Beveridge & Diamond Law Firm

Laura LaValle is the Managing Principal and a founder of Beveridge & Diamond’s Texas office, and is Co-Chair of the Firm’s Air Practice Group.  Her practice has focused on Clean Air Act matters for the past eighteen years.  Ms. LaValle’s air quality experience includes advising and representing entities on a broad range of permitting, compliance, and policy issues.  She has represented chemical manufacturing operations, electric utilities, petroleum refineries, municipal solid waste landfills, steel manufacturing facilities, mining operations, municipal waste combustors, trade...