Arkansas, Ok­la­homa An­nounce Agree­ment On River

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - NEWS -

NORTH LIT­TLE ROCK — Arkansas and Ok­la­homa state agencies re­cently an­nounced the com­ple­tion of a mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment com­mit­ting the states to fu­ture col­lab­o­ra­tion in ad­dress­ing wa­ter qual­ity con­cerns re­lated to the Illi­nois River.

The agree­ment — signed by the Arkansas Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity, the Arkansas Nat­u­ral Re­sources Com­mis­sion, the Ok­la­homa Sec­re­tary of En­ergy and En­vi­ron­ment, and the Ok­la­homa Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture — charts a path for­ward on sci­ence­based reg­u­la­tory ac­tions and per­mit­ting, and that jointly com­mits the par­ties to col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts in de­vel­op­ing a wa­ter­shed im­prove­ment plan. The par­ties also com­mit to co­or­di­nate in mak­ing data and other in­for­ma­tion about wa­ter qual­ity im­prove­ments more read­ily avail­able.

“For the past sev­eral months, ADEQ and ANRC have worked closely with their coun­ter­parts in Ok­la­homa to de­velop an in­no­va­tive, state-based ap­proach to ad­dress chal­lenges in the Illi­nois River Wa­ter­shed,” Arkansas Gover­nor Asa Hutchin­son said. “I ap­plaud the ef­forts on both sides, and I be­lieve this agree­ment will al­low us to lever­age our col­lec­tive re­sources to greatly im­prove the wa­ter qual­ity in the Illi­nois River for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

“Gover­nor Hutchin­son and I have worked to­gether on many things, and I’m proud that our agencies have taken on this chal­lenge and de­vel­oped such a col­lab­o­ra­tive so­lu­tion,” Ok­la­homa Gover­nor Mary Fallin said. “Rec­og­niz­ing the value of our wa­ter re­sources, we should all be work­ing to­gether to im­prove the beauty and qual­ity of the Illi­nois River.”

“Dur­ing the past few years, we have built a strong work­ing re­la­tion­ship with our peers in Ok­la­homa. This agree­ment cre­ates a last­ing frame­work to fa­cil­i­tate co­op­er­a­tion to ad­vance con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ments and pro­tec­tions of scenic wa­ter­ways,” ADEQ direc­tor Becky W. Keogh said. “This rec­og­nizes a pos­i­tive out­look for growth and in­creased agri­cul­tural devel­op­ment in Arkansas and Ok­la­homa.”

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Ok­la­homa and Arkansas as well as sup­port from the Chero­kee Na­tion, in­dus­try, com­mu­ni­ties, and en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­vo­cacy groups that make this agree­ment even bet­ter,” Ok­la­homa Sec­re­tary of En­ergy and En­vi­ron­ment Michael Teague said. “The agree­ment sup­ports growth for both states through work­ing groups and a steer­ing com­mit­tee to ensure that co­op­er­a­tion con­tin­ues and wa­ter qual­ity im­proves.”

“It is im­por­tant for us to rec­og­nize the progress that has been made in the Illi­nois River Wa­ter­shed and to praise all who have taken part in that progress,” ANRC ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Bruce Hol­land said.

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