- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) - Lawton is seeking permission to hire a cloud-seeding company to increase rainfall in the area.

The Lawton Constitution (http://bit.ly/1OdylE3 ) reports that the city should learn on April 21 if the Oklahoma Water Resources Board will give them permission to go ahead with a cloud-seeding contract. The company uses chemicals dispersed by flares fired by aircrafts to promote condensation.

The contract is slated to run from April 1 to Aug. 31, but the actual start date for the work depends on if the city receives a permit from the water resources board.

The board has the authority to decide if groups that want conduct weather modifications can do their work, and it can give people who might be affected by the modifications the opportunity file comments. Those comments are considered before a final decision is made.

City officials say the board hasn’t authorized a weather-modification plan in two decades.

The Lawton City Council approved the contract in March, as well as a $1 per month surcharge on city utility bills to pay for the service.

Officials estimate the five-month project will cost $250,000.

The city experienced a setback during the permission process that includes a state requirement for public notification for the counties that would be affected.

According to Afsaneh Jabbar, the Public Works assistant director of water/wastewater and project coordinator, the board initially indicated the city could place the legal ads in two general circulation newspapers, one of which serviced all of the affected counties except for one.

However, when the city submitted evidence of the legal notices, the board did not accept it because a state statute says public notices cannot be run in newspapers of general circulation.

Lawton has now begun running the notices in one newspaper in each county that would be affected to meet the requirements.

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Information from: The Lawton Constitution, http://www.swoknews.com

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