WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement today after Senate Democrats blocked the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2016 from being considered in the Senate:
"For the first time in six years, the Senate is working to consider under regular order all 12 appropriations bills to fund the federal government. It’s a shame that Senate Democrats are blocking this process in protest that Washington should be spending more taxpayer dollars on non-defense portions of the budget, which they increased by 30 percent when in control of Congress. I do not support returning to this era of unrestrained spending and misprioritization of taxpayer dollars. In the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2016, the Senate Appropriations Committee sought to fix the Obama administration’s misguided funding priorities. Senate Republicans refocused the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget on improving our ports and navigable waterways as well as addressing our nation’s aging flood control systems. The president’s budget for the Corps would put our water infrastructure at risk by underfunding maintenance needs while fully funding his environmental priorities within the agency. We cannot neglect our nation’s infrastructure if we want to retain and attract jobs to the United States as well as remain a global competitor in the export of our nation’s goods. The Senate appropriations bill would also help to strengthen America’s energy independence by continuing to encourage the development of state-based oil and gas regulations. It would accomplish this by fully funding the Risk-Based Data Management System, which supports the FracFocus program at the Ground Water Protection Council. At a time of great global instability, the bill also supports our national security by enhancing our nuclear defense capabilities. I urge Senate Democrats to end their filibuster of these appropriations bills and allow Congress to do its job of debating and setting the federal government’s funding priorities for the next fiscal year.”
Background on funding provisions impacting Oklahoma:
The Senate’s Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2016 would fund key Army Corps projects, including 20+ lakes in Oklahoma that provide essential water resources for drinking and agriculture purposes. It also would fully fund the Kerr-McClellan navigation system, which is essential to maintaining Oklahoma’s ability to export products ranging from natural resources like oil and coal, agriculture products, and manufacturing components.
The Senate bill also funds $5.2 million for the Risk-Based Data Management System, which supports the FracFocus program at the Ground Water Protection Council in Oklahoma. FracFocus supports state-based regulations of hydraulic fracturing by providing, among other tools, an effective form of chemical disclosure.