Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

April 21, 2010

OSRC may be consolidated

TAHLEQUAH — Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commissioners Monday night discussed possible ways to avoid the agency’s consolidation under recently proposed legislation.

Oklahoma House Bill 3173, proposed by Rep. Jeff Hickman, R-Wynona, passed the House in late March, and is in committee in the Senate. The bill seeks to consolidate the OSRC within both the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the Department of Tourism and Recreation.

All environmental regulatory authority of the OSRC would be transferred to the Conservation Commission.

During a recent trip to the state capitol, OSRC Administrator Ed Fite was told by Hickman and Sen. Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, to propose rule changes to the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Act that would streamline operations and generate revenue.

During Monday night’s meeting, commissioners discussed how best to show support for Fite’s efforts in drafting an “alternative document” for amending HB 3173.

“So essentially what we’re here to do by approving the draft cover letter is patting Ed on the back for the work he’s accomplished under enormous time constraints,” said Commissioner Gerald Hilsher.

“Since we can’t slap [the legislators] in the face, yes,” said OSRC Board President Steve Randall. “We need to show the Legislature we are the governing body of this agency.”

Former OSRC Commissioner Ed Brocksmith asked board members if they planned to go along with absorption without a fight.

“Are you all resigned to the fact you’ll be consolidated?” asked Brocksmith. “What does that mean for the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Act that was fought so hard for? Are we relinquishing local control?

“Is the Conservation Commission the right agency to be consolidated with? It’s more closely related to agriculture interests and isn’t a water quality agency. Have you resigned yourselves to go away? It seems there are more questions than there are answers.”

Commissioner Rick Stubblefield told Brocksmith the draft, along with the letter, was a response to a direct request from the Legislature as a result of an emergency meeting.

“Surrender has not been considered an option in our conversations,” said Stubblefield.

“It’s important to let the Legislature know we want to stand on our own.”

Randall explained to the audience that the bill was passed out of committee and was up for passage before the OSRC was even notified. Randall insisted they intend to work diligently to preserve the agency.

“[Several commissioners and] I made the trip to Oklahoma City and actually got some face time with these very busy men,” said Randall.

“And it’s slowed things down somewhat. Before we talked to them, this thing was sledding right through the Legislature without any brakes.”

In other business, commissioners denied an appeal made by Brandon Girty, owner of the Tubin Shack at Welling, to obtain 50 commercial flotation licenses for a new inner tubing float business on Barren Fork Creek.

The appeal was denied unanimously, as the OSRC rules and regulations clearly state commercial floating in that area of the watershed is prohibited.

Commissioners ap- proved an interagency funding agreement that would continue surface-water monitoring and water quality sampling in the Illinois River Basin.

The project cost is $205,800, of which the OSRC’s portion is $71,500. Costs are shared with the U.S. Geological Survey federal matching funds, USGS National Streamflow Information Program funds, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District Office.


What’s next

The next regular meeting of the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission will be held at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 15, at the Armory Municipal Center on Water Avenue.

Text Only
Local News
  • jn cvbc fire.jpg Church catches fire after burglaries

    Authorities are looking for the person accused of breaking into the Crescent Valley Baptist Church two times this week and likely causing a fire that damaged the youth building early Wednesday morning.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw Humane photo.tif More volunteers needed to house strays, help with spay-and-neuter

    Furry friends may seem like the perfect addition to round out a family.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana, seeds lead to four arrests

    Four people were arrested on marijuana related charges early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop on South Muskogee Avenue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Sex offender found living in tent at river

    Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators arrested a convicted sex offender this week when they discovered he has been living in a tent along the river.

    July 24, 2014

  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-TCP-jump.jpg Tahlequah Community Playhouse revving up for new season

    Tahlequah Community Playhouse is kicking of its 41st season with a nod to friendship and aging.
    TCP finished auditions for its first play of the season, “The Dixie Swim Club,” on Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Infant mortality dropping in county

    When a mom-to-be is expecting a healthy, happy baby, every week of pregnancy is crucial.
    Short gestation, or premature births, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Any child born before reaching 37 weeks of gestation is considered premature.

    July 23, 2014

  • Board considers combining tourism, chamber positions

    Members of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the local Tourism Council are discussing the possibility of combining two jobs into one.
    Chamber President Steve Turner encouraged board members Tuesday morning to be prepared next month to decide how it will begin a search for a new executive director.

    July 23, 2014

  • New chamber board members nominated

    Three new board members will likely be installed during the regular August meeting of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce.

    July 23, 2014

  • ts-camp-cherokee-main.jpg Camp Cherokee

    About 500 area youth attending popular camp for tribal citizens.

    In reality, two camps are taking place at the Camp Heart ‘o the Hills: a day camp for children in first through sixth grades, and a residential camp for those in middle and high school.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman