Oklahoman: Dispute between Sen. Tom Coburn and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatens water bill

Oklahoman

Dispute between Sen. Tom Coburn and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatens water bill

COBURN AND SENATE LEADER CONTINUE BATTLE OVER PROJECTS

BY CHRIS CASTEEL

Published: January 9, 2009

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WASHINGTON - Two Oklahoma lawmakers plan to reintroduce a bill that has been caught up in the escalating battle between Sen. Tom Coburn and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over sweeping public lands legislation. ADVERTISEMEN

The bill, approved by the House in late 2007, would allow the McGee Creek Authority, which includes Oklahoma City, to gain ownership of some land, buildings, pipeline and pumping equipment used to extract water from McGee Creek Reservoir in southeast Oklahoma.

Though it's not itself controversial, the bill is part of a package of more than 150 measures Reid and Coburn have been battling over for months.

Reid, D-Nevada, is threatening to force senators to come in for a Sunday session for a procedural vote on the package.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, want the McGee Creek bill passed and plan to reintroduce it as a separate measure in case of failure of the package it's contained in.

"Senator Inhofe and I are introducing a free-standing McGee Creek bill to ensure legislation previously passed in the House does not get bogged down in a Senate omnibus package," Fallin said Thursday.

"By cutting out federal bureaucracy and red tape, this bill will allow Oklahomans who receive their water from McGee Creek to get top-quality water services in a more efficient manner."