WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, last night included an amendment to the FY2010 Interior Appropriations bill that will benefit the sale of chat from the Tar Creek Superfund site.
“I am pleased that at the last minute, the Senate accepted my amendment that will help facilitate the sale of Quapaw-owned chat for usage in federally-funded road projects,” Inhofe said. “Unfortunately, I could not, in good conscience, support overall passage of the bill because of the irresponsible funding levels included in it. At an economically difficult time when families are being forced to make tough spending decisions, and at a time when the federal deficit is exponentially growing, it just does not make sense to increase spending in this bill by 15 percent over last year’s funding levels. Included within that increase is a 33 percent increase over last year for the EPA.”
John Berrey, Chairman of the Quapaw Tribe said, “Once again, our partnership at Tar Creek has moved mountains. Senator Inhofe is an awesome advocate for Northeast Oklahoma and the Quapaw people.”
Under current federal law, contractors working on federally funded road projects must spend a certain percentage of their funds on Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), including minority owned businesses. The Inhofe amendment included in the Senate passed FY2010 Interior Appropriations bill creates an incentive for the use of Quapaw-owned chat from the Tar Creek area by allowing contractors using the chat to apply double credit toward their DBE requirement. Currently 500,000 to 750,000 tons of chat are used each year with 65 million tons available.
In addition, Inhofe said that appropriators, providing $300,000, partially funded his request for funds for a 12 million gallon per day wastewater treatment plant in Enid, Oklahoma. This facility will treat waste water from an estimated 20,000 households in Enid and on Vance AFB, and release it back into the environment for clean water uses. The new facility is critical to the community’s military presence as well as the 50,000 residents who depend on the City to administer utilities and public service. Enid’s Wastewater Treatment Project will create a minimum of 50 jobs for a two year period after which the plant will continue to be run by 15 employees.
Also included in the bill is a buyout for the residents of Treece, Kansas. Inhofe worked with both U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and U.S Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) to include the measure that is similar to the buyout Inhofe secured for the Tar Creek area residents of Pitcher, Oklahoma.