When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water. ...
I thought you might want to know what has happened since you were sleeping and hoping to wake up as healthily as you went to bed being.
The Supreme Court heard and decided a case Waterkeepers and other environmental groups were afraid wouldn't go well. But Clean Water won in the County of Maui V. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The new standard may be even better than the original standard. It was a "Good Win" as described by Daniel Estrin, the General Counsel for the Waterkeeper Alliance, who spoke at LEAD Agency's 2018 National Environmental Conference at Tar Creek, on what else? The History of the Clean Water Act.
I had signed onto an organization's comments but I got busy and totally missed my chance to make a personal comment in an official "Comment Period" that would have allowed me to tell EPA to keep using science when making decisions on how to help communities like us dealing with Tar Creek and BF Goodrich. Comment periods are opportunities to say something, say your piece, tell it like it is, to people in agencies that should have our best interests at heart. I wasn't stellar in the sciences, but I value science and want real facts used when decisions are made on the long term human health issues especially when it hits home.
Senators got Andrew Wheeler, the head of the EPA to testify and Senator Ed Markey told him, “Your decisions make this pandemic worse,” and get this: demanded Wheeler "apologize to minority communities for “harming the health of the most vulnerable people in our country right now as their lungs are being attacked by coronavirus.” Why did he say that? EPA has rolled back regulations for vehicle fuel efficiency standards and mercury limits from power plants AND implemented a temporary policy so companies can delay complying with air and water quality reporting and monitoring requirements during the health crisis.
We have a chance right now to read up on EPA's Human Health Risk Assessment for what is called Operable Unit 5, the next phase of cleanup work to be done in the Tar Creek Superfund site. Read up and on June 18 LEAD Agency will host a virtual session with consultants to go over what they found in the document to better help you focus on the comments you will submit to EPA. You will do that because you are not going to let this opportunity pass by to share your thoughts on the facts EPA will be laying out for the public. A lot of us have time to do this. We are filling up our days, but be honest, we can make time for a thing that matters.
Right here in Oklahoma, our Governor just signed into a law, get this, signed into law making waste water from oil and gas production a THING that is a resource. A resource that Senator Rader, who introduced the bill, feels will "attract entrepreneurs to innovate and invest in technology to process and treat oil and gas produced water and waste, resulting in a beneficial resource and a reduction in wastewater injection." This is how you spin it into gold, a THING that in most places in the world is simply toxic waste. Here in Oklahoma, we want to be able to sell it and hope somebody with land will buy it to spray on their crops.
I am thinking we are not using much science in Oklahoma either and if anyone buys it, better check their high school transcript for what they made in their science classes. House author Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa, said the bill helps clarify an issue that until now was ambiguous in state statute. He wants to use this as a way to diversify our state's economy. Not only will they spin this into gold, he thinks we can put it in the bank, too.
There is a whole long list of supporters, but the saddest one was a man we have met and had hoped would be a champion for the environment when he came to be Oklahoma's Secretary of Energy and the Environment. He proved with this which hat he is wearing.
During this pandemic, we will need to watch closely since the people in power may make changes that can make our world less safe and fail to protect human health for the future. They think we are sleeping.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim