Residents concerned with chemical testing near Newkirk

Chemical testing will be done at the Chilocco Indian School by the Department of Homeland Security next year. (KOKH/Will Maetzold)

Cindy Rice said she moved back to her hometown of Newkirk less than two years ago for a safer place to live. After living in Utah near Salt Lake City, she wanted to have a small-town feel again and took a job at the Main Street Bakery.

"It was an adjustment and after awhile you become pretty passionate about your community and where you live," Rice said.

She said the plan from the Department of Homeland Security and Oklahoma State Laboratories to test chemicals isn't what she had in mind.

The chemicals and biological agents are scheduled to be tested at the Chilocco Indian School outside of Newkirk next year.

"We have got wind farms to the north, to the south, to the east and to the west of us," Rice said. "At anytime, those windmills are going, going, going."

She's worried some of what's being tested could be blown into surrounding communities. The government said the chemicals are inert and non-toxic.

There are two particles that will be tested. The first includes titanium dioxide, which is commonly used in paints and food. The second is a mix of urea powder and CL fluorescent brightener, used in toothpastes and laundry detergent to increase fluorescence.

"If it's harmless, why are they testing it in a sparsely, zero populated area with houses?" Rice said. "And if it isn't harmless, why aren't they just taking it as far away as they possibly can?"

Lloyd Jones used to be a campus minister at the Chilocco Indian School and said he's concerned about the plan too.

"It seems like when you start that, then the ball keeps rolling down the hill and gets bigger and bigger like a ball of snow," Jones said.

Rice said he's going to continue to fight for her community as this testing gets set to start.

"My kids, my grandkids, their kids they're going to have, no it's not fair to them," Rice said.

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