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Public Statements

Lake Thunderbird Efficient Use Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LANKFORD. I would like to, as well, thank my colleague, Tom Cole, for his work on this. He is the one who has really sponsored this, has focused on it, has driven it through to completion. It is a very important thing for communities that are both in his district and in my district as well.

H.R. 3263 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to simply amend an existing contract with the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District for the storage of nonproject water in Lake Thunderbird. It's very simple and straightforward. This bill would allow the district to augment water if the Secretary determines that there is enough excess capacity in the reservoir.

Since the summer of 2010, Oklahoma has been in a severe drought. This has seriously endangered the quality and supply of our drinking water. To address this devastating shortage, the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District could purchase water from Oklahoma City to supply high-quality water through the Atoka pipeline to Midwest City, Del City, and Norman. Regrettably, Congress must act before this resource can be tapped. It is imperative that we remedy the storage issues faced by these cities, and Congress shouldn't stand in the way of this.

It is amazing that it takes an act of Congress for an Oklahoma lake to buy water from another Oklahoma lake. No Federal funds are needed, only Congress giving the permission to allow Oklahomans the flexibility to use their own water as needed. I am strongly in support of this. This is the type of thing that should be widely bipartisan. It is a simple fix, and hopefully we can fix this legislatively in the future to not have to have an act of Congress just for us to use our own water in each State.


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