River Compact Commission ties on vote to give itself lawmaking power

Thursday, September 25th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Monkey Island-AP) -- The Arkansas River Compact Commission has deadlocked in a vote to allow the panel to seek authority to set pollution controls for watersheds shared by Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The proposal would have had the commission ask a federal judge if it had authority over state water-quality laws.

The measure was proposed by Commissioner Michael Carter of Fort Smith at the commission's annual meeting in northeast Oklahoma. The vote was tied at three.

Carter says case law supports the power of similar commissions to make laws. The commission would be able to set an amount of phosphorus permitted in several rivers that start in Arkansas and flow into Oklahoma.

Oklahoma officials have accused Arkansas of not cracking down on the phosphorus output into the rivers by chicken farms along their shores.