Could a Flint, Michigan water incident happen in Oklahoma? J-D Strong, director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board certainly hopes it couldn’t, based on the trust he has in the Board employees and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.
“I would like to think that would not happen given in Oklahoma the great water monitoring our Department of Environmental Quality does, checking systems, looking at water monitoring reports and going above and beyond to protect public health,” said Strong, in a recent interview with OK Energy Today.
But there is a concern—-budget cuts and what they might do to the water monitoring programs.
“Budget cuts could mean fewer staff and lower-paid staff handling extremely important information,” added Strong. “It increases the possibility that things could slip by. I hope the budget challenges don’t make that job harder to do.”
Otherwise, he has high praise for the job both the Water Resources Board and the DEQ are doing.
However, one organization attempting to make the Flint, Michigan contamination a political issue is the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
“Republicans don’t care about the safety and protection of people or property nearly as much as they care about their bottom line and that of their campaign contributors,” said the Party in a statement released this week. It said it hopes and prays that a similar outcome does not unfold right here in Oklahoma.
“However, the similarities between their Republican leadership and that of Oklahoma, are eerily similar. Like Governor Snyder of Michigan, our own Mary Fallin remains silent and dismissive. Governor Fallin, Speaker Hickman, and other top Republican leaders continually ignore the cries of concerned Oklahomans, labeling anyone that dares to speak out against fracking or calls for an immediate moratorium as “anti-business.””
The Democratic party release said they are the same type of responses the people of Flint received when raising concerns to Governor Snyder.
“The children of Oklahoma deserve to be guaranteed safe drinking water and that responsibility falls on Governor Fallin to ensure that municipalities are doing their job to protect their citizens. Unless something is done immediately, Oklahoma could face a disaster as serious and devastating as what Flint, Michigan has recently seen, whether it is earthquakes, toxic water or worse, both.”
While blaming Republicans for the water contamination crisis, the party did not include the forced resignation of Obama administration appointee Susan Hedman as EPA Region 5 administrator. She oversees the EPA regional department that oversees the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and is being forced out over the crisis.
Listen to Strong’s comments about the Flint, Michigan issue.