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WATCH: Tulsa World: Inhofe questions Army Corps of Engineers on Arkansas River plan funding
April 1, 2011

Posted by Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov

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Tulsa World

Inhofe questions Army Corps of Engineers on Arkansas River plan funding

by JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau

Friday, April 01, 2011

Link to Article

 

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., concerned that work on the Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan could go dormant, raised the issue of federal funding Thursday with a key official of the Army Corps of Engineers.

During a hearing on the corps budget, Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, told Jo-Ellen Darcy, an assistant secretary of the Army, that the Arkansas River project was a "substantial priority'' and referred to the $50 million already authorized to carry out ecosystem restoration, flood damage reduction and recreation components of the plan.

He also mentioned the cooperation that exists on that program among Tulsa County, the city of Tulsa and the Indian Nations Council of Governments.

With work continuing on a budget for the current fiscal year and talk of spending cuts dominating almost everything in Congress, Inhofe asked Darcy how her agency will approach decisions on funding such local projects.

Darcy responded that once Congress finishes work on funding the rest of the current fiscal year, her agency will need to prioritize.

"We want to be in on that discussion,'' Inhofe said afterward in an interview.

In October, the Tulsa County Commission approved a cost-sharing agreement with the corps to begin implementing the river plan with the agreement calling for each of the two parties to split the estimated $4.5 million cost of a feasibility study.

According to an Inhofe aide, work on the master plan will stop if the corps cannot come up with its share of the money. He said current law prevents the county from using its own money to move ahead with the work even if it agrees to keep the corps informed on technical aspects.

During the hearing by a subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Inhofe also raised the issues of a demonstration project on Lake Eufaula, the needs of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System and the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, and a chloride control project on the Red River.

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