For Immediate Release
November 22, 2005
Contact: Charlie Price
Saying that "clean, safe water is critical to the future of Tenkiller Lake
and its tributary Oklahoma Scenic Rivers," the Greater Tenkiller Area
Association (GTAA) Board of Directors praised the state's efforts to
protect Oklahoma's streams and lakes from poultry pollution.
In a letter to Attorney General Drew Edmondson, GTAA president John Ellis
said the area's tourism industry and public water supplies depend on clean
In his letter Ellis said that "thousands of families in our area depend on
Tenkiller Lake, the Illinois River, Flint Creek, and Barren Fork Creek for
pure drinking water. These families and the many businesses on our lakes
and rivers need clean water, free from polluting nutrients and dangerous
metals and bacteria ...."
He also said that "eastern Oklahoma's tourism industry is dependent on
clean, safe water."
After almost four years of fruitless negotiations, the state last June
filed a federal lawsuit against several out-of-state poultry companies for
the pollution their operations have caused in the Illinois River watershed
and Lake Tenkiller. The suit alleges that improper land application and
storage of poultry litter has resulted in runoff, which violates state and
federal antipollution statutes.
"The Greater Tenkiller Area Association hit the nail squarely on the
head," Edmondson said. "Twenty-two public water supplies draw their drinking
water from this watershed and the tourism industry in this area is
dependant on water. This is not only an environmental issue, it's a
public health issue and an economic issue. I appreciate the association's show
The Greater Tenkiller Area Association is a non-profit organization whose
goal is to expand Oklahoma's market share of the tourism industry by
promoting the area and preserving its natural wonder.
"The GTAA applauds your efforts to ensure that this generation and those
to come may enjoy the beauty of Tenkiller Lake and the many benefits of our
scenic rivers," Ellis' letter said.