August 14, 2008

Oklahoma Water Resources Board Running Out of Time for Funding

By Janice Francis-Smith

The opportunity to get more money from Congress for water planning projects this year is almost over, legislative advocate Josh McClintock told members of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board on Tuesday. Money for several ongoing studies hangs in the balance, so Oklahoma is teaming up with officials in Colorado, Nevada and other states to push for an appropriation.

"They're not coming back after the election," said McClintock. Members of Congress will instead wait to see who wins the presidency and how the congressional elections turn out. Just a few months are left before the elections, but legislation to provide funding for water planning appears to be stalling in the Senate.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., is working to bring between $250,000 and $500,000 to Oklahoma to help with the statewide Comprehensive Water Plan, as well as several studies of specific water basins, rivers and other water supplies, said McClintock.

On Sept. 16-17, state officials are scheduled to meet with members of Oklahoma's delegation.

"We're putting together a strategy for us to get to Congress," said McClintock, adding that the team has been working with congressional staff on the effort since February.

Originally published by Janice Francis-Smith.

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