For the third consecutive year, an Oklahoma river is in the spotlight. While many appreciate the beauty of the Blue River, they wonder what it will mean if the state steps in and makes it a scenic river
The Oklahoma Rivers Commission is now taking a different approach in trying to preserve the river they call a natonal treasure. The group has wanted to make the river scenic since the 1970s. But in the 70s, stakeholders didn't want to turn control of the river over to the state, which would in turn take the control away from them.
The new bill, if passed, would only affect the section of the river in Pontotoc and Johnston counties. Designated rivers like the Illionois must remain free-flowing. Also, no dams can be put in and wastewater treatment plants cannot be added on the river banks after the designation.
Landowners would also be given money to help preserve and keep the water quality at high standards.
A third public hearing was held Tuesday night in Ada in hopes of clearing up confusion about the bill. Representatives with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau say they will continue to oppose the designation and do not agree with regulating the land around the river.
The Senate will be looking at the bill in February.