Kiamichi River Journey
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By Debbie Leo
On June 29th and 30th, the hearing before the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) in Oklahoma City begins.
Attendance is required for the protestants who will be defending and presenting their reasons why this stream water application # 2019-0023 by Tomlin Energy, LLC should not be approved.
This request would take thousands of acre feet of water from the upper portion of the Kiamichi River, destroy many tributaries to build three ponds, remove thousands of acre feet of soil from the mountains and create a “closed-loop pump station” to help the Choctaw Nation store their wind generation power.
The electricity will be going on to the Kiowa plant and then be transferred to Texas for the purpose of stabilizing the Texas power grid.
If that sounds like something you might want to come and listen to, show support for or against, the hearings begin at 9:00 A.M.
At this time, I do not know what the protocol will be regarding face masks, social distancing, etc. but if you come, please be prepared to do whatever is required.
This is the first of many attempts to build a pump storage facility by this corporation, Tomlin Energy, LLC. They have tried several times under different titles to get a “stream water permit” on the Kiamichi River.
They are not the only ones to approach the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a permit, but this corporation has been granted the first permit by the FERC to now pursue a stream water permit to build the project.
It will be up to the OWRB to determine if there is enough water to fulfill this application’s requirements, determine the environmental effects of this project and approve this project.
There is a promise of money for Pushmataha County.
Money and a few jobs will not be enough to keep the Kiamichi River safe and flowing for everyone downstream if this permit is approved. Don’t forget that OKC is still going to take their “fair share” unless we continue to challenge that permit also.
This is a fight to preserve a river, a steam during the summer and fall, and all the tributary waters that keep this region alive.
How you choose to perceive it will determine if any of us have a future here. The Kiamichi River flows for now, but that can change if we, the people of Pushmataha County, don’t continue to fight for what is right for the Kiamichi River.
Join in the fight, come to the hearings and help. A show of force during a pandemic may be scary, but it just may save the river this time from this permit application. Never give up, they won’t stop coming for our water.
The Kiamichi River watershed is our only source of water. If it is changed, so will we be.