Inhofe blames illness on lake algae

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Friday he is convinced he became ill after swimming in the algae in Grand Lake earlier this week, according to the Tulsa World.

“There is no question,” Inhofe said, relating that after he took a routine dive into the lake this past Monday morning, “that night I was just deathly sick.”

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Inhofe has long owned a home on the lake, which is located in northeastern Oklahoma and has long been a big draw for boaters, swimmers and fishermen. He said he has never seen the kind of algae in the lake as he has this year, and that he could not convince one of his granddaughters to swim with him. “She didn’t want to get in that green stuff,” he said.

Inhofe, who has long sparred with environmentalists, even suggested his own headlines for his predicament: "The environment strikes back" or "Inhofe is attacked by the environment."

The Grand River Dam Authority, which generates hydroelectric power from the dam, early on Friday announced it is discouraging swimming in the lake because of the blue-green algae there.

GRDA spokesman Justin Alberty said the advisory was issued because of the rapidly changing conditions of the blue-green algae levels in areas of the lake.

Blue-green algae are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams, usually in low numbers. Most aren't toxic, but toxins harmful to humans and animals can be produced in some algae blooms.

But Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) is encouraging Oklahomans planning to go to the lake over the Independence Day holiday not to cancel their plans, citing other tourist attractions in the area, The Oklahoman reported.


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