WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, today praised Committee passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Passage of WRDA, which includes several provisions for Oklahoma, continues to be one of Senator Inhofe’s top priorities. The WRDA bill that passed out of the Committee today is essentially the same bill the Senate passed last year, which should allow for faster consideration in the Senate.
“The unanimous vote in favor of the WRDA bill today represents the Committee’s commitment to getting this bill to the President as soon as possible,” Senator Inhofe said. “The WRDA bill provides numerous project authorizations and policy improvements that are vital to Oklahoma and the nation’s economy, public safety and environment. I believe that because the Committee is building upon last year’s efforts, we should be able to move the bill quickly through the Senate and back to conference with the House.”
OKLAHOMA BENEFITS INCLUDED IN THE WRDA BILL:
Lake Texoma – Local plans for further recreational development on land previously conveyed to the State of Oklahoma at Lake Texoma are being hindered by reversionary interest language included in that conveyance. The WRDA bill would remove the reversionary interest language, thereby allowing local development plans to move forward.
Lake Eufaula - This provision establishes recreation as a project purpose and creates a lake advisory committee that will allow citizens to give recommendations to the Corps regarding the operations of the lake. This section would also authorize a reallocation study.
Oklahoma Lake Demonstration - The WRDA bill creates a program in Oklahoma that would encourage development on Corps lakes through public-private partnerships.
Arcadia Lake – The City of Edmond has been in dispute with the Corps of Engineers over whether the city owes additional money as interest on water payments. The WRDA bill clarifies that the city is not liable for interest during the time when the city was not using the water.
Waurika Lake Project – The Corps of Engineers and the Waurika Project Master Conservancy District completed the lake project in the 1980s. Well after completion of the lake, the Corps discovered an accounting error and claimed it had undercharged the Conservancy District. Language in the WRDA bill clarifies that Waurika is obligated to pay only the amount that was originally agreed to when the project was completed.