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River and Environmental Issues

Kayak Paddle

Letters to Newspaper Editors

Letter to the Editor

August 15, 2005

Letter to the Editor

I learned something today, and, to tell you the truth, it broke my heart. It seems that what is decided behind closed doors may not be the same thing that is presented to the public.

I'd never taken a stand on any issue until the State and the Tribes decided they wanted to sell the Mountain Fork River to Dallas. This concept seemed wrong in all ways. I fought that fight, and would be willing to fight it again.

And then another insult to the river arose with the request of a dumping permit by the Weyerhaeuser Craig Facility. Toxic waste materials, currently contained in seven impoundments on the site, were no longer wanted. Weyerhaeuser has been "releasing" toxins and "storm water run-off" into the river on an expired permit, with the blessing of the ODEQ, since 2002. It seems that, as long as a permit request has been timely submitted but not allowed or denied, dumping can continue.

My husband and I wanted to secure samples of the soil and water from the "unnamed tributary" to the Mountain Fork River, to determine whether the ODEQ and Weyerhaeuser were properly monitoring the "release". The Regulatory Affairs Manager of the Weyerhaeuser Company threatened to call Mr. Tadlock if we set foot on Weyerhaeuser property to collect such a sample. This individual stated that he could not allow an "uncontrolled sampling" of the soil or water.

All right, already. I'm not stupid. Of course Weyerhaeuser wouldn't want us on their property. So why was I disillusioned?

I got to looking for the name of this Weyerhaeuser representative on the computer search. And this is what I found.

This same "gentleman" who did not believe there was any "justifiable reason" to test the soil or water from the Craig Facility is the Chairman of the Environmental Federation of Oklahoma. This Federation ( "plays an integral role in determining the ultimate fate of state rules and regulations" by interacting with the ODEQ, EPA, the OWRB and other state and federal agencies. Other board members include representatives of the Sinclair Oil Corporation, Georgia-Pacific, and Conoco-Phillips. It all looks too cozy to me.

So, corporations control the economy and the governmental oversight.

I have only one concern. I want to help keep the Mountain Fork River clean, flowing, and available for recreation, fishing and a healthy habitat for the fine creatures God has given us. We are charged with protecting the critters. We want to give our children and grandchildren the blessings we have had. It's true that we don't have the money, the legal backing, or the education of the corporate world. But we do have a strong will. Do we let them get away with ruining our homeland?

Maybe. But, hey! The least we can do is give the big boys a run for their money!

Marcia Hodgson
Rt 1 Bx 633-8
Broken Bow OK 74728

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