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Something’s Wrong

Those words woke me at 4 this morning. I rose to find nothing wrong. The clarity of the voice bridged the chasm of the place between dream and reality.

I actually did go to a party this weekend. There were people who believed everyone should be allowed to vote, that we all matter, that rights gained should not be taken away. They even trumpeted workers have rights to a safe place to work and that a worker be paid a living wage to do it. Human rights include health care and clean air and water that is fishable, swimmable and actually drinkable.

These folks invited me to speak at their party. People were nice and sat in rows and waited with me until a young organizer and Kit Waters enabled us to begin.

As the Tar Creekkeeper, I naturally spoke about Tar Creek and how she became damaged as she is and how water is life, but too much water backed up on us is illegal and a real dirty deal and has led us to the fight for the life of the town and the property that belongs to all who live here and try to do that with dignity in a place that can wipe you out when the whims of a quasi-state entity’s desire to make more money gets the best of us.

Even our state’s Attorney General is having questions about how that entity runs as a business and who earns and owns the money they incur. What if we had a “friend in Jesus” in the State of Oklahoma that we might turn to investigate our issues and what if he did it? I am going to go there in my mind for a bit and think through how we might catch Mr. Drummond up on the “somethings wrong” that are going on with water in Miami, right here in Ottawa County and see if he has the power, the ump, or a single desire to take us on.

Number one. Miami was built between a river and a creek, on purpose, because who wouldn’t want to have clean running water near their homes and businesses? The site was chosen because of the joy and sustenance water can provide.

Number two. Our Neosho River meets the Spring to form the Grand River and downstream the Grand was dammed to provide flood protection and hydropower and we lost our flood protection by becoming the holding pond that produces both electric power and misused power over our lives when water is held here to produce profits, flood after flood over the decades.

Number three. Give us some credit. Mining didn’t happen in Miami for the most part, but the mining that occurred in Ottawa County impacts the town because the namesake for the largest Superfund site Tar Creek has for the last 43 years been ruined taking away the rightful playground and swimming holes for the past 4 generations of children. Then when our town gets those mighty floods Tar Creek spreads out and lays down a dump of metals in your front yards and back yards and poisons all the native plants we would love to gather along the banks, blackberries, wild grapes, wild onions and once tasty and ample fish.

There are somethings wrong. What if we begin to dream big about how to make them right?

I stand with LEAD’s Youth Campers who are demanding powers work together.

What if EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency and FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission looked over the license just submitted for the operation of the Pensacola Dam for the next 30 to 50 years and tore it apart. What if our Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees becomes part of the Tar Creek Superfund Site, because all of our toxic waste that isn’t stuck here and laid down on us, goes there and sits in the bottom of that grand lake poisoning the fish that all those bass fishermen win prizes for.

Still with me?

What if our tribes and the Cherokee Nation work with the Department of Interior and just take the lake and own it?

And owning it, operate it, and re-design the way the dam operates, allowing fish passages, and boaters too.

What if the spoonbill and the eels could safely travel and reproduce and thrive again?

What if state and federal entities enforce the Clean Water Act as it was designed to operate and protect that Grand Lake from polluting sources including the way agriculture and our very own cities and towns use the waterways as a legal way to dump their waste with all the permits to pollute they are issued?

Wrongs can be made right. And with that I wish you good night.

Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim

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