Ellis Authors a Crap Spreader's Bill of Rights
The state attorney general and secretary of the environment would be limited in their ability to sue agricultural producers in Oklahoma for pollution if a bill passed out of subcommittee Monday becomes law. The bill would create several new requirements a pollution case must meet before a lawsuit could be filed. Oklahoma Secretary of the Environment Miles Tolbert said the requirements mandated in House Bill 1300 would stretch out over about 18 years.
Rep. Jerry Ellis, author of the bill, said the legislation is meant to force state agencies to work in good faith with agricultural producers before taking them to court. The bill stems from a lawsuit filed in June 2005 by Attorney General Drew Edmondson against 14 poultry companies polluting watersheds in northeastern Oklahoma. Drew Edmondson has said evidence will show that the poultry industry, by overapplying chicken litter on land, is the primary source of pollution in the Illinois River watershed.
I can tell you from personal experience that this problem is NOT limited to the Illinois River. Currently, Okmulgee area farmers surrounding my home are hauling stinking filth in by the Dumptruck load everyday. Most days this week, breathing the air in my driveway would gag a maggot. When we built our home here it was not a dumping ground for sewage waste, now I cannot imagine who would want to buy our house. The damage to our family and property is real, yet Jerry Ellis thinks I need my rights limited even more to protect massive corporate farming operations that are unwilling to effectively treat their waste. I think his plan stinks!
It is short sighted leadership like this that drives the 'brain-drain' of young professionals choosing not to live in Oklahoma. Until we stop these boot-licking, corporate toadies from selling out our quality of life for campaign donations, I don't expect much to change.