Representative James Lankford (R-OK) visited Shawnee today to brief city leaders on his office's efforts to bring new business to Shawnee's growing business district on I-40. Developers are working to bring a new restaurant to the area and have encountered bureaucratic and regulatory red tape from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Representative Lankford has fought regulatory obstacles like this since taking office, and he expressed disappointment though not surprise at the delay in the Shawnee project.
"In my 16 months as a Member of Congress, the issue that increasingly comes to my attention--whether with energy, banking, or economic development--is that this administration is stifling business growth with its zeal for ever-increasing regulations," said Representative Lankford.
"The developers and engineers for this Chick-fil-A, the City of Shawnee, and now federal legislators have been stonewalled by FEMA, who has jurisdiction over the flood maps on which the Chick-fil-A would be located. Unreasonable regulations imposed on this project are delaying and threatening to kill a very legitimate business venture," continued Representative Lankford. "This should be simple, but instead, building a restaurant in Shawnee, OK requires a federal emergency manager. This administration talks a big game about the desire to strengthen our economy, but here is a prime example of exactly the opposite.
"One reason the economy has failed to grow is that something as simple as building a restaurant requires mountains of federal paperwork and thousands of dollars in overhead," Representative Lankford observed. "The bureaucratic red tape imposed by agencies like FEMA slows business expansion and causes the cost of food to rise dramatically to cover the added expenditures.
"My office has asked FEMA administrators to come and see this project with their own eyes. We want them to get a first-hand look at the site, speak to the developers, review the options, and work out a reasonable response for the timely completion of this much anticipated new business for Shawnee. This project would provide growth to a vibrant community, but the federal government is standing in the way," Representative Lankford concluded.