During a multiple-year budgetary battle with the Oklahoma Legislature, the Water Quality Division of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality was assembled. This is a group of about a hundred people in attendance.
A senior manager informs us that in response to the legislature’s budget tightening, she will re-allocate efforts away from the engineers providing technical assistance (a critical feature of preventing water-borne, disease outbreaks or other aspects of long-term water epidemiology such as lead poisoning, effects of volatile organic chemicals, etc.), and towards paperwork enforcement. To many who were listening, she added punch and meaning to this action by stating: “We will live with increased risk of water-borne illness.”
To trade the well-being, and perhaps lives, of citizens and visitors to Oklahoma as a device in a battle for agency funding, undermines the argument for such funding (to say the least) and represents such a malfeasant attitude and to demand a state and federal investigation by the State Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Federal Bureau of Investigation Public Corruption Division and Congress (Oklahoma DEQ implements Federal Drinking Water laws by delegation and reference).