INHOFE REAFFIRMS VOW TO LEAD EFFORT TO OVERRIDE BUSH VETO OF CRITICAL INTRASTRUCTURE BILL
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, reaffirmed today that he intends to lead the effort in the Senate to override President Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA) (H.R. 1495). Because of the overwhelming bi-partisan votes in both the Senate and the House earlier this year, Senator Inhofe is confident that the Congress will successfully override the President's veto. On September 24, 2007, the Senate voted in favor of the WRDA bill by a margin of 81-12. The House approved the bill in August by a vote of 381-40. As the ranking member and former chairman of the Committee, Senator Inhofe has made passage of the WRDA bill a top priority.
"I am committed to working closely with my Senate colleagues to override President Bush's veto of this critically important national infrastructure bill," Senator Inhofe said. "Infrastructure is an essential part of our nation's economy, and we should not understate the importance of addressing our infrastructure needs. The WRDA bill makes significant progress in addressing our water resources needs in a responsible manner.
"As a fiscal conservative, I certainly appreciate and share the President's concerns over "excessive spending" by the Federal government. The fact is, though, that the WRDA bill is not a spending bill; it is an authorizing bill. It simply sets out which projects and programs are allowed to get in line for future funding. Authorization is the best tool we have for keeping discipline over the annual appropriations process. Every day that goes by without enacting a WRDA bill is another day we allow unnecessary pressure to build on the appropriators to short-circuit the authorization-then-appropriations process."
OKLAHOMA PROVISIONS INCLUDED IN THE WRDA BILL:
- 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 period when the city was not exercising its future water use water supply from Lake Arcadia saving the City nearly $10 million.
- Arkansas River Corridor – The WRDA bill authorizes $50,000,000 to carry out the ecosystem restoration, recreation, and flood damage reduction components of the Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan in coordination with Tulsa County, surrounding communities, and INCOG.
- Lake Eufaula – The WRDA bill creates a lake advisory committee that will allow citizens to give recommendations to the Corps regarding the operations of the lake and authorize a reallocation study.
- Lake Texoma – Local plans for further recreational development on land previously conveyed to the State of Oklahoma by the Corps of Engineers 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.
- Oklahoma Lake Demonstration - The WRDA bill creates a program in Oklahoma that would encourage recreational development on Corps lakes through public-private partnerships.
- Ottawa County, Tar Creek – The WRDA bill authorizes $30,000,000 to complete the relocation assistance for residents in the Tar Creek communities of Picher, Cardin, and Hockerville at risk from subsidence and environmental contamination. In addition, the WRDA bill provides the authority EPA requires to re-evaluate remediation plans at Tar Creek to conduct both remediation and resident assistance. Finally, it preserves the legal claims the Quapaw Tribe is pursuing on behalf of its members.
- Red River Chloride Control Project – The WRDA bill clarifies that operation and maintenance of Oklahoma chloride control projects at the Red River will be at full federal expense. This is consistent with the operation and maintenance of chloride control projects in Texas for the past 20 years, and this project will enhance drinking water supply and agricultural irrigation in the area.
- Waurika Lake Project – The Corps of Engineers and the Waurika Project Master Conservancy District completed the lake and water transmission project in the 1980s. After completion of the lake, the Corps claimed it had undercharged the Conservancy District and has claimed various additional construction and administrative costs after the final cost and repayment schedules had been established. The WRDA bill clarifies that Conservancy District in Waurika is obligated to pay only the amount that was originally agreed to when the project was completed. Waurika Lake provides water supply to the communities of Comanche, Lawton, Duncan, Temple, Walters, Waurika, and several rural water districts.
OKLAHOMA ENVIRONMENTAL INFRASTRUCTURE AUTHORIZATIONS
- $1,700,000 for sewer improvements and other water infrastructure projects for the City of Ada, Oklahoma.
- $10,000,000 for carrying out water related infrastructure for the City of Norman, Oklahoma.
- $1,000,000 for sewer and utility upgrades and water related infrastructure for Eastern Oklahoma State University in Wilburton, Oklahoma.
- $500,000 for arsenic program and water related infrastructure for the City of Weatherford, Oklahoma.
- $1,500,000 for water improvements and water related infrastructure for the City of Bethany, Oklahoma.
- $1,500,000 for water improvements and water related infrastructure for the City of Woodward, Oklahoma.
- $2,500,000 for water and sewer improvements and water related infrastructure for the Cities of Disney and Langley, Oklahoma.
- $3,300,000 for bayou restoration and water related infrastructure for the City of Durant, Oklahoma.
- $2,000,000 for improvements to water related infrastructure for the City of Midwest City, Oklahoma.
- $1,900,000 for water and sewer infrastructure improvements for the City of Ardmore, Oklahoma.
- $16,000,000 for water related waste water treatment related infrastructure projects for the City of Guymon, Oklahoma.
- $5,000,000 for water related infrastructure improvement projects at the Lugert-Altus Irrigation District, Altus, Oklahoma.
- $650,000 for the industrial park sewer infrastructure project in the City of Chickasha, Oklahoma.
- $275,000 for water testing facility and water related infrastructure development at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma.
- $2,500,000 for the water supply infrastructure project for the City of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
- $500,000 for water treatment infrastructure improvements for the City of Konawa, Oklahoma.
- $3,325,000 for water improvements and water related infrastructure for the City of Mustang, Oklahoma.
- $250,000 for waste water improvement infrastructure for the City of Alva, Oklahoma.
- $6,500,000 to update the Oklahoma Statewide Comprehensive Water Plan administered by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to address statewide Oklahoma water resource needs and future planning.