The $6.8 billion presumptive budget agreement has been praised for preserving money for education, prisons and Medicaid, but some of the sharpest cuts are aimed at agencies that regulate industry and protect the environment.
Lead levels are an active concern at 19 public water systems in Oklahoma, roughly 1 percent of 1,634 systems statewide, records from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality show. Most, however, appear to be working with regulators to address the problem.
Chandler, a city of about 3,000 residents, like many small communities in Oklahoma, has struggled with deteriorating pipes and pumps, limited funding to make repairs and upgrades, and increasing demands to provide clean water to more and more customers.
The Tri-State Mining District in northeastern Oklahoma’s Ottawa County was once the world’s largest source of lead and zinc. The mines had closed by the 1970s, but pernicious pollution still plagues what is now known as the Tar Creek superfund site.
It’s clear UK-based Severn Trent Services badly mishandled its responsibility to deliver clean water to the city.
In Oklahoma, local government officials say tougher rules aren’t needed because ozone levels are already improving, and the state Department of Environmental Quality says the state would have a hard time meeting the proposed rules, which would reduce ozone standard from 75 parts per billon to between 65 and 70.