It took 13 years for the judge in Tulsa to make his decisions about the way Big Chicken junked the Illinois River Watershed. But the decision is the document every friend of a waterbody across the state could emulate.
Just read Judge Greggory Frizzell’s FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Want to learn how chicken poop harms a watershed. Turn to page 164.
Learn how phosphorous changes the water and effects the fish: Pages 39-50.
Want to read how Big Chicken messed with the growers by making the profit and leaving them the waste? See pages 84-89.
I have been waiting since we walked out of that courtroom all those years ago to hear the sound of justice and by-golly, it is a good read! When Martin Lively started reading it aloud, I found myself DANCING. Now that is a pitiful sight, but it did bring me JOY, that would be ultimately JOY to the FISHES, wouldn’t it? If they could have heard those words, joy would be resounding down beneath the surface!
Science of watershed management is presented by the State of Oklahoma’s experts, then discounted by Big Chicken’s and ultimately accepted or rejected by Judge Frizzell by weight of the evidence.
I wondered if he had some sort of scale set up beside him as he reviewed and analyzed the data and how much it tilted one way and then the other as the arguments were recounted in these final pages.
Some of the names who gave evidence were known to me. Dr. Bert Fisher, you might remember him from when he and the Executive Director of the Department of Environmental Quality Thompson attended early Tar Creek Conferences. Shanon Phillips who assisted LEAD Agency in writing a big grant from National Fish and Wildlife, one we are still hoping will be funded. Drew Edmondson and Miles Tolbert have been up this way and spoke up and out for the rights of clean water for the Illinois River and her watershed.
What happened to the Illinois River watershed, the excessive application of poultry waste spread on the fields that runoff there is happening in our own Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, and many of the same bad actors who are going to have to sit down with the State of Oklahoma and come to some sort of decision on how on earth they are going to deal with the “xxxx” they have burdened that watershed with since the 1980’s and get that done before mid-MARCH this year.
I would love to be in that room. But listen, I would like to be in the room when they figure out they have messed with the wrong state, that WE ARE ALL WATER PROTECTORS and we demand that they “get right with the Lord,” as the old saying goes, and start working their way real quick to doing right for Grand Lake, too.
It is bad enough that it floods us, but the quality of the water that floods us?
It starts with caring and making it known that you love your watershed. So I am launching Friends for Tar Creek. I know you are out there. But can we make it official? Will you show you care again? Over a thousand of you signed our petition to give Tar Creek Rights in the middle of the pandemic, you stuck with her. Now let’s make it official. Next time we see each other you will get your Friend of Tar Creek card, button or the declaration that best suits you.
We will show the “whose-its” that she has got friends from all over. AND then we will be launching the Friends of the Grand River, that Grand o’ River we call the Neosho as she passes through us before she meets her sister and officially gains that identify.
Boy do our watersheds need friends!
LEAD is establishing our two sets of Stream-Teams. There are lots of ways to win in court and one of them is collecting the data that shows how our two watersheds are. So, if you want to get your scientific hat and boots on, join either the Tar Creek or Grand River team. We will sample once a month at as many sites as we have people to help us. Teams from agencies collected data for 20 years and longer in some areas to prove how the Illinois River Watershed became impaired.
We are way behind, but hey, never too late to start, especially when the companies read Judge Frizzell, they are going to know the State of Oklahoma means clean up your business and don’t shed into our water.
Here is the link to Judge Frizzell’s writing. It is a great way to spend a weekend learning how the poultry industry did wrong and got caught.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim