Miami to Host Third Annual National Conference on Tar Creek, Fishing Tournament and Toxic Tour

Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Published on 5/2/01

(Miami, OK) - The Cherokee Volunteer Society will host the third annual National Conference on Tar Creek May 3-4, in the City of Miami’s Civic Center. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the program will begin at 9 a.m. both days.

The opening speaker at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 3rd, will be Gregg Cooke, Administrator - EPA Region 6. Brian Griffin, Oklahoma Secretary of Environment, will be the keynote speaker during the luncheon on Friday, May 4th.

In conjunction with the conference, the eighth annual Fishing Tournament on Tar Creek and Toxic Tour will be held on Saturday, May 5. The Toxic Tour, a 10k, 13k, and 19k bike tour of the Tar Creek Superfund site area, will begin at the Miami High School at 10 a.m. Van rides are available as an alternative for those who prefer not to bike. The fishing tournament on Tar Creek begins at the Miami High School at 1 p.m. Featured events during the tournament include performances by local bands, presentations by environmentalists, and the winners of this year’s essay contest. Festivities will continue Saturday evening at ZAC’s, downtown Miami, at 7 p.m.

The purpose of the conference is to showcase local, tribal, state and federal efforts in dealing with the complex issues involved with resolving the environmental and health impacts of the Tar Creek Superfund site. In addition, the conference brings in research scientists from many disciplines in Oklahoma and from across the nation who are applying their work toward Tar Creek’s many challenges. This yearly high school student service project, allows citizens of Ottawa County to hear the plans and progress being discussed. Additionally, the program allows attendees to meet the students involved in the Cherokee Volunteer Society (CVS), a Learn and Serve project of the Cherokee Nation. CVS recently was honored at the National Learn and Serve Conference in Denver, Colo. as the model Learn and Serve program for the State of Oklahoma.

“The theme for this year’s conference is ‘The Final Solution?’” said Rebecca Jim, conference organizer and sponsor for the Miami High School CVS group. “The Governor’s Tar Creek Taskforce report was published last fall, and this will be the community’s first opportunity to discuss the findings and proposals, in detail, with all those involved with the taskforce. The question for us is, ‘is this the final solution?’” she said.

The Conference is divided into four themes; (1) Environmental issues, the Governor’s recommendations, and land owner issues regarding cleanup; (2) Solutions: progress on the yard removal project; technologies for use at the site, and the new non-residential study soon to begin; (3) Health issues resulting from metals exposure, and solutions; and (4) legal issues regarding the Superfund.

In addition to the conference and festivities, area students from all grades will participate in three contests; 1) Environmental Essay Contest; 2) Environmental Poetry Contest; and 3) Environmental Photo Contest.

Following the conference sessions on Thursday, there will be a traditional dinner and stop dance, hosted by the Seneca-Cayuga Language and Cultural Society, in the Ottawa-Peoria Cultural Building in the Eight Tribes Complex, in Miami. The dinner will start at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

The registration fee for non-residents of Ottawa County is $100, if attending all events, which includes the conference, two lunches, the traditional dinner, a Wednesday mixer at the Coleman Theatre, the Toxic Tour entry and lunch on Saturday. Registration is reduced if not attending all of these events. Area residents will only be charged for meals, mixer at Coleman Wednesday evening, Toxic Tour entry, and t-shirts, if they choose to participate in those activities.

The conference and events are co-sponsored by the L.E.A.D. Agency, Quapaw Tribal Environmental Office, Seneca-Cayuga Tribal Environmental Office, Miami Tribal Environmental Office, Cherokee Nation’s Learn and Serve Project and the National Energy-Environment Law and Policy Institute (NELPI) at The University of Tulsa College of Law.

To register or for more information, contact Rebecca Jim at (918) 542-4421.