Quote of the Day - Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.
Arkansas and Oklahoma have been at it for a long time, and this 20-year water discharge dispute has a brand new chapter: Arkansas has once again appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, this time to resolve whether Oklahoma can enforce its water pollution standards on discharges from Arkansas, upstream in the Illinois River basin.
Back in 1970, when Earth Day was first established, all was well between the neighboring states. They signed the Arkansas River Basin Compact to regulate the manner of discharges to bodies of water. The main idea was to reduce the introduction of excessive nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus into the Arkansas River Basin, which fed lakes, streams and rivers in Oklahoma. All was well, at least initially.
The trouble began in 1985. A small city in Arkansas applied to the USEPA for a permit to discharge some 6.1 million gallons of effluent per day into a small stream in northern Arkansas. Over Oklahoma's objection, the USEPA ultimately granted the permit. Oklahoma sued. The case wandered through the appellate system until 1992, when the Supreme Court demurred to the USEPA decision, and did nothing.
Now, the two states are at it again. First, the City of Tulsa sued Tyson Foods, Inc., an Arkansas poultry producer. Then, Oklahoma filed a new suit mid-summer, and the OK attorney general has appealed to the Supreme Court again, claiming that poultry waste from Arkansas fouled Oklahoma lakes and streams. The suit alleges that the poultry waste is equivalent to the waste generated by almost 11 million people.