Attorneys say the recent ruling by a Delaware County judge opens the door to challenging long-term groundwater permits that have been issued to the large poultry farms in eastern Oklahoma over the last few years.
“The Court concludes that irreparable environmental harm is likely to result through the OWRB permitting the use of water without the agency undertaking any review of the potential adverse consequences of such use,” wrote Delaware County District Judge Barry Denney.
Also on Tuesday, U.S. Senate sent a bill to the President to sign that contains a controversial provision that would remove Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority over flood control issues caused by GRDA’s Pensacola Dam.
The lawsuit comes after a significant increase in poultry operations in eastern Oklahoma — especially in Delaware County — beginning in late 2017 after Simmons Foods announced its plans to build a new poultry processing facility in Gentry, Ark.
The co-founder of Save the Illinois River said Arkansas’ acknowledgement of Oklahoma’s .037 mg/L phosphorus limit was a huge step forward, but that he hoped the agreement between the two states did not result in another study that yields little or no improvement in water quality.
The $585,000 change order to Denver, Colo.,-based engineering and design firm Merrick & Company, which was hired through a no-bid contract in 2018, is a more than 50 percent increase from the original $1.1 million contract to plan out a white water rafting park near the Oklahoma-Arkansas border.