TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:
Now we learn that not only have Northwest Arkansas forces successfully weaseled another study of Oklahoma’s phosphorus limit for scenic rivers (.037), they apparently also are financing a review of the EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Load once it’s completed.
There is no limit as to how far the Dirty Water Lobby in Arkansas will go to protect its economy – an economy it views as being threatened by our efforts to protect northeastern Oklahoma’s greatest natural resource: clean water.
This news comes on the heels of letters from poultry corporations, Tyson and Simmons, and Northwest Arkansas municipalities petitioning EPA to further delay the TMDLs , which is a pollution diet, for the Illinois River watershed and Tenkiller Lake. Already their congressmen – along with Oklahoma’s congress members – have stalled the TMDL study by asking for a peer review of the final TMDL.
Here’s where we now stand, and it’s not a pretty position: The three most important watershed issues, as well as Save The Illinois River’s three greatest reasons for optimism for the future of the Illinois River, are in a disgusting state of limbo. These three matters are the EPA’s TMDL, Oklahoma’s .037 phosphorus limit, and Oklahoma’s poultry lawsuit. They all are now on hold or up for reconsideration thanks to the Dirty Water Lobby.
Also on hold are all water quality permits for the watershed including Tahlequah’s sewage discharge permit.
While these things sit idle, the public’s attention to the needs of the Illinois River watersheds is withering away.