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Lawmakers Urge EPA to Keep Water-quality Program
September 18, 2009

Posted by David Lungren

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Tulsa World


Lawmakers Urge EPA to Keep Water-quality Program


By Jim Myers


September 18, 2009


Link to Article

The Oklahoma congressional delegation expressed concern Thursday that a federal agency is moving away from a successful voluntary program tied to Tulsa's water quality.

In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, the delegation said Oklahoma's $9 million investment in the program since 2003 has resulted in a 66 percent reduction in phosphorus levels in Beaty Creek.

That creek is a tributary to the Eucha-Spavinaw watershed, the primary water supply for Tulsa.

A 69 percent reduction in phosphorus and nitrogen also has been realized in the Peacheater Creek subwatershed of the scenic Illinois River, according to the letter.

"Through voluntary, cooperative action that addresses water quality problems while respecting private property rights, several additional streams have been removed from the 303(d) list for bacteria, sediment and pesticide pollution," the letter states.

"We are concerned, however, that EPA has neglected funding for section 319 (the polluted runoff program in the Clean Waters Act) and may be considering altering current regulations to mandate certain nonpoint source pollution reduction efforts.

"We believe such efforts would fail to take into account the already successful reduction of nonpoint source pollution in Oklahoma."

In addition, the lawmakers stated, a change in the EPA's approach would severely impede future efforts to reduce pollution in the state by disenfranchising many who have worked hard to achieve improvements to water quality.

They also cited current economic woes, adding that the federal government should be ensuring that states can continue to use innovative and flexible ways to address complex environmental issues.

"By imposing one-size-fits-all regulations on states, the EPA will sacrifice effectiveness while increasing costs for state governments and taxpayers during a time when they can least afford them," the lawmakers stated.

The letter was signed by Republican Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn and Reps. John Sullivan, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole and Mary Fallin and Democratic Rep. Dan Boren.


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