Oklahoma Senate passes poultry, swine bills

Monday, April 8th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma Senate on Monday approved a bill designed to protect state waters from pollution from poultry operations.

Under the measure, a poultry operation cannot be established or expanded within 1 1/2 miles of a facility used for public drinking water or one mile from a scenic river, said Sen. Scott Pruitt, Senate sponsor.

``This bill says that if you're going to expand a poultry operation in Oklahoma you must do it in areas that are not strategically located for public drinking water,'' said Pruitt, D-Broken Arrow.

``I think this bill helps address the water quality issue in northeastern Oklahoma and in Tulsa, particularly.''

The bill, which now goes to the governor, was introduced by Rep. Mark Liotta, R-Tulsa. Tulsa gets part of its water supply from lakes located in areas where there are many poultry farms.

Senators also approved a bill affecting the ability of swine operations to be located near a recreational area.

Another measure passed would make milk the official state beverage. That bill, by Sen. Paul Muegge, D-Tonkawa, changes the name of the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Senators voted 43-0 for a bill prohibiting swine operations from being located within three miles of an area, such as a camp, that is used ``substantially'' as a recreational area.

Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, said his bill should protect legitimate recreational areas such as Boy Scout camps, while preventing someone from blocking a permit for a hog facility by simply ``putting a sign in a field that says this is a recreational area.''

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Elmer Maddux, R-Mooreland, returns to the House for final consideration.

In other action, the Senate:

_ passed a bill that is designed to give school districts tools to combat the problem of schoolyard bullies. The measure is similar to a bill that passed the Senate earlier. Both bills area headed for a joint conference committee.

_ voted to allow school districts to waive some graduation standards for out-of-state students who move into Oklahoma.