Save the Illinois River, Inc.
24369 E 757 Rd.
Tahlequah, OK 74464-1949
(918) 284-9440


Save the Illinois River, Inc. | Environment | March 07, 2024

Mission Park Planning Feb 2024 2
 Planning Conservation Projects for Park
A demonstration rain garden will help control water runoff, improve water quality, and replenish groundwater sources at Tahlequah's Mission Park. The community is invited to take part in the projects in coming months, said Dr. Craig Clifford of the Mission Park Foundation. From left are: Jack Titchener, of Natural Resources Conservation Service; Tahlequah Parks and Recreation Department Director Brian Speake; Barb Daily, Save the Illinois River vice president; Ed Brocksmith, STIR; Jeri Fleming, Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) Ecosystems and Watershed manager; and Clifford. Not pictured is GRDA director of Water Quality Ed Fite.

By Save the Illinois River (STIR)

An Illinois River outfitter’s request for new commercial float permits has been placed on hold by the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) pending the outcome of charges he misused last year’s permits.
James Franklin-Cody Bartmess of Broken Arrow faces two counts of obtaining cash under false pretenses, and three counts of violating the Scenic Rivers Act. The charges were filed against him in Cherokee County District Court late last year.  He was released on bond pending a hearing on March 25. Bartmess, owner of All American Floats, requested two hundred additional permits for 2024.
The GRDA also voted to follow the recommendation of a Northeastern State University study of Illinois River carrying capacity that commercial permits should be held to the maximum of 3,900 this year.

  A northeastern Oklahoma legislator's bill dealing with poultry waste comes at a critical moment when Oklahoma and the United States Federal Court are attempting to bring Arkansas poultry corporations to the table in order to protect the Illinois River watershed from pollution.  Attempts by a federal mediator to reach an agreement failed and attorneys for the companies say the trial evidence is too old to be considered.  Oklahoma maintains that the evidence is still viable.
House Bill 4118 appears to be another so-called Right to Farm measure.  Opponents say it is a Right to Harm bill that is similar to the failed state question 777 which was soundly defeated by Oklahoma voters.
Rep. David Hardin of Stilwell is sponsor of the measure which is now in the Oklahoma House following approval by the House Agriculture Committee.

Here is an excerpt from HB 4118:

...Land application of poultry litter in compliance with a
current Nutrient Management Plan shall not be the basis for criminal
or civil liability in Oklahoma, whether relating to that single
plan, or aggregated with the application of poultry waste pursuant
to other Nutrient Management Plans, nor shall an administrative
violation be the basis for a criminal or civil action, nor shall any
alleged violation be the basis for any private right of action, nor
any action other than enforcement of the terms of the Nutrient
Management Plan and other sections of this title by the Oklahoma
Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry...

Provisions of the Hardin bill are retroactive and give the poultry companies, the integrators sued by Oklahoma, immunity from liability for pollution of the waters of Oklahoma.

STIR is watching the progress of this bill which, as now written, appears to be in direct conflict with STIR's mission to protect, restore, and preserve the Illinois River, its tributaries, and Lake Tenkiller.

What you can do at this time about HB 4118 is to read the bill, form your decision on its merits, and make certain your House and Senate members know how you feel about it.  See Find My Legislator



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Save the Illinois River, Inc.
24369 East 757 Rd
Tahlequah, Oklahoma 74464

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