It's time to make some sacrifices to save rivers
If you've followed the news at all in the last couple years, you know the algae is the result of abnormally high concentrations of phosphorus, something the state is trying to reduce. Water quality experts say the phosphorus has a number of sources, but many agree that a major contributor of excess phosphorus is the chicken litter applied to northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas fields and pastures. Runoff carries the litter and phosphorus into area streams.
Edmondson has met with the poultry firms before to try and come to terms over getting the litter out of the Illinois River basin. In two years, no agreement has been reached, and Edmondson has threatened to sue.
We could write a long history of this battle.
The history doesn't matter now, though. What matters is the health of the Illinois and the water quality of all area streams. We don't want polluted water. The Illinois is an Ozark stream, and it should run clear in Adair and Cherokee counties.
We know the poultry industry is important to this area, but a river or any other natural resource doesn't have to be sacrificed to have an industry.
Oklahomans and the industry should be ready to sacrifice to keep the streams clean. It can be done. We believe it should be done without threats, haggling and lawsuits.
Clean water comes with recognizing the recreational and aesthetic values of a river, and those are not secondary to any other value, but of equal importance.