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Environmental Leaders Join In Tar Creek Conference - KOAM TV 7

Environmental Leaders Join In Tar Creek Conference

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It's been almost three years since the U.S. Government finished its buyout of Picher, Oklahoma and deemed the highly lead and zinc contaminated area surrounding Tar Creek -- a Super-Fund site. This week environmental agency's from across the state came together to discuss the site and other environmental issues facing Oklahoma.    

Earl Hatley helped organize the 15th Tar Creek Conference at Miami's Civic Center this week. His hope-- to keep discussing the contaminated area surrounding the government deemed Super-Fund site near Picher, Oklahoma. This is what he hopes participants walk away with.
 
"An understanding of what we're facing, and hopefully an understanding of how to get involved," Hatley said.
  
Hatley says the creek that started it all is Tar Creek, and as you can see from the photo attached, decades of over mining have caused zinc and lead to get into the water and turn it a rusty color. Now according to the LEAD agency, the contaminated water dumps into the Neosho River, and it's scope reaches far beyond. 

 "I want our water safe, all the way around, we have the right to clean water, just like clean air," said Hatley.
 
Hatley says lead has been found all the way past the Grand River Dam, and he says part of the point of the conference is to discuss the problem of toxic levels in water, which can effect fish and wildlife caught in contaminated areas. But he also says it's about getting other environmental groups together under one roof. Groups like the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, who're here for the first time this year to talk about Oklahoma Pipelines.

"I think there's a lot of stories of great individuals just getting together, and working with each other, to oppose and just to clean up their areas and fight back on industry who is hell bent on destroying this land," said a representative of the group Stefan Warner.

So whether it's tar sand pipelines, rusted rivers, or contaminated soil; Hatley says this year's conferences brings a lot of thought provoking ideas to consider. And he says the LEAD agency will continue holding the annual conference so long as there are people like Warner willing to attend.

For more information on the LEAD Agency, click here.
For more information on the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, click here.
For more information on the Tar Creek Conference itself, click here, here, and here. 

 

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