water pollution

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The $6.9 billion budget signed last week by Gov. Mary Fallin delivers 5 percent cuts to most state agencies. On paper, it looks like two environmental agencies received funding boosts,  but a closer look at the numbers shows the increases aren’t what they appear.

SORT OF AN INCREASE

Trey Lam is often found off the beaten path, beyond low-water river crossings and through pastures accessible only by rocky, tire-jarring rural roads.

EPA Administrator and former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was back in the Sooner State last week — to talk about what his agency plans to do about saltwater contamination in Bird Creek in Osage County that could be tied to the oil and gas industry.

More than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have accumulated on a remote island in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest city, according to estimates from researchers who documented the accumulating trash.

Turtles get tangled in fishing line, and hermit crabs make their homes in plastic containers. The high-tide line is demarcated by litter. Small scraps of plastic are buried inches deep into the sandy beaches.

For 51 years, a small federal program has been paying scientists to keep American waterways healthy. It's called Sea Grant — part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — and President Donald Trump"s proposed budget for next year would eliminate it.

On the Navajo Nation, kids with the most severe developmental disabilities attend a school called Saint Michael's Association for Special Education.

Dameon David, 8, is waking up from a nap in his classroom. He has come to the school in northeastern Arizona for four years. He has cerebral palsy, seizures and scoliosis. His mom, Felencia Woodie, picks him up from a bed with Superman sheets.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Pennington Creek in south-central Oklahoma is the only source of drinking water for the town of Tishomingo. Residents there are worried limestone mining operations threaten the creek. Now, the city council is taking on the companies doing the digging.

The city of Flint still doesn’t have clean water. It’s been more than two and a half years since the city switched its water supply, and lead first appeared in its tap water.

But a new investigation by the Reuters news agency found that even with the water crisis, there are places elsewhere in the U.S. with more dangerous lead poisoning than Flint.

Residents of Corpus Christi, Texas, can use their tap water again, city officials announced on Sunday.

On Sunday, the city issued a statement saying:

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the City of Corpus Christi have concurred on the decision to lift the tap water restrictions citywide effective immediately.

For months, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others in North Dakota mounted a massive protest against the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, in part over concerns that any leak could contaminate their drinking water.

City officials in Corpus Christi, Texas, are warning residents not to use their tap water — at all — after possible contamination by an unknown chemical.

A press release from the city points to "a recent back-flow incident in the industrial district," and instructs residents to use just bottled water all food preparation, drinking, washing and bathing needs until further notice.

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