I cannot express enough how important community organization is to a community such as Bokoshe. Once the folks were informed what exactly they were dealing with everything changed for them. The first part of the organization came with the creation of the group Two is Too Many by the Center for Energy Matters. They held a series of informational meetings in the area to let the folks know what they were up against with the proposal of an expansion of the power plant. This expansion would have more than doubled the capacity of the existing plant. Many people were involved including Earl Hatley, a master organizer who has worked on several Superfund sites and every major environmental project in the area from Tar Creek to Black Fox. The media was a big part of this as well, including some very powerful pieces from the Tulsa World by Susan Hylton as well as strong support from my publisher with The Current. I really hesitate to mention any names, lest I leave some out because there were so very many people involved in the fight. What really matters is at the end the people were informed and they did not want any more power plants dumping fly ash in their hometown. Once the people knew what they were dealing with they organized themselves and formed their own group BECAUSE and built a website intheairwebreathe.com/. These people who just a few years ago were living their own lives have now become activists. They travel regularly to DEQ Air Quality meetings, are headed to Dallas to speak before the EPA and even go as far as Washington D.C. to lobby. This has been an amazing transformation for the community and I don't think they will ever back down until they get what they want.
|Earl Hatley (speaking) Robert Huston (seated)|
in Poteau, Ok.
|2009 DEQ Air Quality Meeting|