OKLAHOMA WILL ENFORCE SCENIC RIVERS POLLUTION LIMITOKLAHOMA CITY…Implementation of Oklahoma’s debated and studied phosphorus limit for scenic rivers apparently is now the goal to protect the Illinois River and other scenic streams and not a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution study. The key will be getting the cooperation of everyone in the watershed especially Arkansas said Oklahoma Secretary of Environment and Energy Michael Teague at a meeting Monday with clean river advocates.
Secretary Teague and department directors met with members of the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma (CCO) and the Sierra Club who urged Oklahoma to insist that EPA complete TMDL studies for the Illinois River and Tenkiller Lake. Last month, EPA announced said Arkansas and Oklahoma should do the studies based on watershed modeling by EPA.
A TMDL addresses the causes of water pollution and tells who must reduce pollution and by how much. You might consider it a pollution diet. TMDLs are required for impaired water bodies under the federal Clean Water Act.
In a letter to Mr. Teague, the coalition said that if EPA won’t do the TMDLs then Oklahoma and Arkansas should do them. If Arkansas does not cooperate with Oklahoma on completing TMDLs, then Oklahoma should do TMDLs for the Oklahoma part of the watershed the coalition said.
“It has been suggested that pollution of the Illinois River might be addressed by having just a watershed plan in lieu of TMDLs,” said Save the Illinois River (STIR) President Denise Deason-Toyne of Tahlequah. “We feel that TMDLs for the river and the Lake Tenkiller are the only answer to pollution from cities and farms even if it could result in a lawsuit,” said Deason-Toyne who added that the meeting was very cordial.
“The states have struggled with this issue for more than 25 years with no meaningful resolution yet. That’s why our coalition believes strongly that EPA should finish the job, said Ron Suttles, CCO chairman. “Federal Clean Water Act TMDLs would be the best course,” Suttles added.