Oklahoma seeks relief from multimillion-dollar debt

Sunday, February 19th 2006, 8:03 pm
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ The state of Oklahoma is asking a Denver appeals court to relieve the multimillion-dollar debt it incurred over the construction of Sardis Lake.

At issue is whether the state must pay the federal government 60 (M) million dollars or more for the lake on the Kiamichi River near Clayton in southeast Oklahoma.

The federal government built the lake in exchange for promised payments from the state, which entitled it to water for industries and municipalities.

The state has not found a buyer for the water, and legislators in 1997 stopped appropriating money for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to make the payments.

The federal government sued the state in 1998, saying the state broke a 1974 contract when it stopped payments.