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OKMULGEE, Okla. — Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief George Tiger has responded to Tribal Resolution 15-156 passed during an emergency session Sept. 8 by the MCN National Council, asking the Carter Center Democracy Program to observe the tribe's upcoming election.

"I am not going to sign the resolution because our election process is outlined in our laws and constitution and we have to be careful to protect our tribal sovereignty," Tiger said. "Our Constitution supersedes any tribal resolution. Muscogee (Creek) Nation has been around a long time and we’ve got about 80,000 Creek observers already. I’m not opposed to the Carter Commission, or anyone for that matter, observing our election process, but I put my trust in our Mvskoke laws and the citizens I serve, the Mvskoke people, not an outside source."

The resolution narrowly passed with a National Council vote of 9-6.

Tiger has 10 days to sign the resolution or return it to the National Council, but he does not plan on signing it.

The 2015 MCN primary election is Sept. 19. Muscogee (Creek) citizens will head to the polls to vote for the principal chief office and seven National Council seats.

Five candidates, including Tiger, are campaigning for principal chief.

By Clifton Adcock
CAPITAL WATCH

A state senator who has authored a controversial bill to reform the state’s drug forfeiture laws is convening an interim legislative study on the issue Sept. 1.
Sen. Kyle Loveless

Sen. Kyle Loveless

Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, said in an interview that the study will feature national experts on civil forfeiture, attorneys, law enforcement agents who support reform and those who say they are victims of civil forfeiture abuse.

Law enforcement and district attorneys are pushing back against Loveless, however, saying Senate Bill 838 and similar measures would harm their ability to fight the drug war. At an Oklahoma District Attorneys Council meeting in Oklahoma City on Thursday, some officials said they are preparing presentations against Loveless’s proposed bill.

One of them, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, accused Loveless of hiding information from the state’s district attorneys or lying about it.

“If he has the truth on his side, Sen. Loveless can be open and honest with us right now, since we’re trying to ask about what it is and if there’s truly an issue, we’ll deal with it,” Prater said. “But he’s playing hide the ball, playing games, lying to the public, so why will he not give us case numbers and case names?”

Loveless said cases of abuse do exist, but some of the victims are afraid to speak out against law enforcement. Loveless said court records show many cases where a judge has ruled seized property or cash must be returned to the owner.

“It’s interesting that the reaction has been so vitriolic,” Loveless said.

The issue has rankled law enforcement officials and district attorneys who said there is no evidence of widespread abuse of civil asset forfeiture.

During Thursday's meeting, District 4 District Attorney Mike Fields, who heads the council’s asset forfeiture committee, said he and the committee are working to rebut Loveless’ claims of innocent people having money seized by law enforcement under the guise of drug enforcement.

“There are no widespread systemic abuses currently within our system,” Fields said. “It’s just not happening. No evidence has been or, I believe, can be brought forward to support that claim.”

District attorneys and other law enforcement officials have been working to educate the public and legislators on the matter, Fields said, such as attending events that Loveless is speaking at to offer their perspective. The committee is also preparing its presentation for Loveless’s interim study hearing.

“We’re working with our partners to coordinate our efforts and make sure we’re all going on the same road and secondly to coordinate our message to directly counter and rebut the generalizations and misinformation that’s being pushed by proponents of Sen. Loveless’s legislation,” Fields said.

Pursuant to the Notice of Regular Meeting properly filed and posted as required by law, a regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Okmulgee County was held August 17, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. in the County Commissioners Office at the Okmulgee County Courthouse. Present were Robert Hardridge, Chairman; James Connors, Vice-Chairman; Ron Ballard, Member. Becky Thomas, County Clerk, was present to take minutes.

The Board approved the minutes of August 10, 2015. Motion, Connors; Second, Ballard. Vote: Ballard, yes; Connors, yes; Hardridge, yes.

The Board approved the following Blanket Purchase Orders:
O’Reilly Auto Parts, TCR
Unifirst Holdings, TCR
Unifirst Holdings, CRT
Motion, Connors; Second, Ballard. Vote: Ballard, yes; Connors, yes; Hardridge, yes.

The Board acknowledged and approved the following Employee Acknowledgments:
Latoya Blackman, 911 Communications Center, Full-time
Christopher Stacy, 911 Communications Center, Full-time
Motion, Connors; Second, Ballard. Vote: Ballard, yes; Connors, yes; Hardridge, yes.

The Board opened Bid #1 to lease purchase one or more, 2010 or newer, all-wheel drive grader. Bids were received from Boxcer Equipment and Yellowhouse Machinery. Kirby-Smith Machinery submitted a ‘No Bid’. This was tabled to allow reviewing time. Motion, Connors; Second, Ballard. Vote: Ballard, yes; Connors, yes; Hardridge, yes.

The Board approved the amended Tower/Ground Agreement with TEAM (Tower Erecting and Management) for the County-wide digital radio and repeater system. Motion, Connors; Second, Ballard. Vote: Ballard, yes; Connors, yes; Hardridge, yes.

The Board approved the Cash Fund Estimate of Needs and Request for Appropriations as follows: County Highway, $226,230.29; County Highway, $4,295.49; TCR Highway, $37,272.30; Highway CBRI 105, $27,942.40; Half-Cent County Road Tax, $112,611.54; Sheriff’s Service Fees, $10,591.15; Sheriff’s Courthouse Security, $1,877.48; Sheriff’s 1/4 Cent Sales Tax, $56,296.89; Sheriff’s DARE, $270.50; Sheriff’s Trash Cops, $97.50; County Clerk’s Lien Fee, $5,018.33; County Clerk’s Preservation Fees, $7,005.00; Treasurer’s Certification Fees, $395.00; Assessor’s AVIR, $1.89; County Use Tax, $12,205.23; Emergency 911, $13,319.81; Emergency 911, $11,028.13; Emergency 911, $8,834.14; Court Clerk Revolving Fund, $5,089.08; Drug Court, $17,098.67; Drug Court, $140.00; D.A. Supervision Fee, $43,885.33; D.A. Incarcerations, $300.16; Anna McBride Court, $225.00; Family Treatment Court, $480.00; Okmulgee County Governmental Building Authority-Sales Tax Proceeds, $112,609.25; Okmulgee County Governmental Building Authority-Bond Proceeds, $21.71. Motion, Connors; Second, Ballard. Vote: Ballard, yes; Connors, yes; Hardridge, yes.

Under New Business: Twin Hills Fire Chief Robert Pinkston was present to discuss Okmulgee County 911 Communications Center providing dispatching services for the Twin Hills Fire Department. 911 Communications Director Kasey Johnson was present to inform the Board that she’s already started the process.

The Board approved the claims for fiscal year 2014-2015 with a motion by Ballard and a second by Connors. Vote: Ballard, yes; Connors, yes; Hardridge, yes.

The meeting adjourned at 9:26 a.m. with a motion by Connors and a second by Ballard. Vote: Ballard, yes; Connors, yes; Hardridge, yes.

Minutes prepared by:
BECKY THOMAS, COUNTY CLERK

DEMMEETING1

The Okmulgee County Democratic Party met the candidates running in the Primary for the District 16 State House of Representative seat which State Rep. Jerry Shoemake holds and is retiring at the end of his term. The candidates were given time to talk about their qualifications to the members. They were Jan Columbine, Ronnie Kell, Anna Dearmore and Sarah Amador. (Amador was unable to be at meeting).

Mr. Mark Hammons State Democratic Party Chair was the guest speaker. Okmulgee County Committee Vice-Chair Tom Taton conducted the meeting.

AGENDA FOR REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

OKMULGEE COUNTY

As required by Section 311, Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes, notice is hereby given that the Board of County Commissioners of Okmulgee County will hold a regular meeting on August 10, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the County Commissioners Conference Room in the County Courthouse, located at 314 W. 7th, Okmulgee.

                                       AGENDA

The following is a list of the business to be conducted by the Board of County Commissioners at the above-mentioned meeting:

1.     Call to Order                                                                                                                                                  

          Invocation

         Pledge of Allegiance

2.     Possible approval of minutes from regular meeting                                                                      

3.     Input by the Public on any non-agenda items  

4.     Order of Business:

  1. Discussion and possible action of Officers’ Reports
  1. Discussion and possible action of Blanket Purchase Orders
  1. Discussion and possible action of Employee Status Reports
  1. Discussion and possible approval of submitted Utility Permits
  1. Discussion and possible approval of Private Property Agreements
  1. Discussion and possible approval of surplus of 2014-2015 Fiscal Year monies to 2015-2016 Fiscal Year
  1. Discussion and possible approval of Tower/Ground Agreements with Frosty Towers and TEAM (Tower Erecting and Management) for radio communication  
  1. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for expenditures of the District Attorney’s Office
  1. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for Election Board Secretary’s salary         

5.    Report from Emergency Management Director

6.   New Business

7.     Discussion and possible approval of claims and/or signing of documents

8.     Adjourn

Name/Title of Person Posting This Notice:            Becky Thomas/County Clerk

                       

Date: August 6, 2015                                                Signature _________________________________

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mike Shelton said Monday he will refile an earthquake training measure that House Republicans suffocated three years ago.

The Oklahoma City Democrat filed House Bill 2868 in 2012, to require every school district in the state to have “a written plan and procedures in place for protecting students, faculty, staff, administrators and visitors from earthquakes.”

“The state must find a way to provide schools with sufficient funds to provide training on ‘earthquake preparedness and response’,” Shelton said Monday. At least two drills would be conducted each year “for the purpose of identifying a safe place to take cover and to teach participants how to react during an earthquake,” his prior legislation decreed.

The training would be coordinated and provided or approved by the state Department of Emergency Management.

After Shelton filed his measure, a governor’s staffer sent an email to the governor’s communications director, asking him to, “Make this go away.” Subsequently the Republican House leadership sent Shelton’s HB 2868 to the Common Education Committee, where it died without ever receiving a hearing.

“These earthquakes are centered largely in central and northern Oklahoma,” Shelton noted. “We have thousands of students attending elementary, junior and senior high schools in that area, as well as the thousands of students attending Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and Langston University in Logan County.”

Furthermore, Shelton pointed out, the earthquakes are growing in frequency and intensity.

Between 1978 and 2008, a 30-year period, Oklahoma averaged 1.6 earthquakes per year of magnitude 3 or greater.

Records indicate Oklahoma had been subjected to 18 earthquakes of magnitude 4 or greater as of July 28. In comparison, the Oklahoma Geological Survey recorded 14 magnitude 4 or greater tremors in all of 2014, three in 2013 and one in 2012.

The U.S. Geological Survey counted 585 ‘quakes in Oklahoma of magnitude 3 or greater last year. By noon Monday the USGS had logged 544 ‘quakes of magnitude 3 or greater in Oklahoma. Bob Jackman, an independent geologist who lives in Tulsa, said that at the existing rate, Oklahoma is on track to experience a record 923 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher by the end of the year.

Shelton’s legislative district includes Jones and Choctaw in eastern Oklahoma County, an area that has been seismically active and is just north of the five largest oilfield wastewater disposal wells in the state.

“This is our opportunity to get out in front of this and be proactive, not reactive,” Shelton asserted. “We need to do more to educate and to protect Oklahomans. Far too often we don’t pay attention until a disaster occurs because of some situation we were already aware of. Preparedness now will help avoid somebody being severely injured or killed in one of these earthquakes.”

Following this week’s announcement by the Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division (OGCD) that they will reduce oil and gas wastewater disposal well volume in two central Oklahoma counties, Gov. Mary Fallin met with Sec. of Energy and Environment Michael Teague and members of the Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity. Afterwards, those attending the meeting spoke with members of the press about their work and the latest state efforts to reduce earthquakes caused by disposal wells.

Sen. Roger Thompson also attended the briefing which was held Tuesday afternoon at the state Capitol. Thompson, R-Okemah, represents McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee and Okmulgee counties in the Senate.
“The latest Corporation Commission rules were announced on Monday and are aimed at Logan and Oklahoma Counties, where they’ve seen an undeniable increase in the frequency of quakes. While our part of the state hasn’t experienced what the citizens there are dealing with, we do have disposal wells here. I was interested to know what the governor and members of the Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity had to say about the situation,” Thompson said.

Last year the governor directed Teague’s office to lead the Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity, which brings together universities, regulators, legislators, seismologists and industry associations with the mission of coordinating and sharing information across state agencies and the state’s oil and gas industry, identify gaps in resources, and work cooperatively to develop solutions. While some seismic activity in Oklahoma occurs naturally, researchers agree that high volume, deep oil and gas wastewater disposal wells pose the highest risk for induced seismicity. The latest rules take into account other variables which may have triggered earthquakes.

“Because of the Council, the Corporation Commission has had access to excellent, in-depth data provided by oil and gas producers and this has proven invaluable as OGCD has worked to update their rules in response to the increase in seismic activity,” Thompson said. “Before they were focused on high-volume, deep wells. But those weren’t the kind of wells that were located in the areas having the most earthquakes. Other factors, like the cumulative volume of disposal wells, needed to be examined. With the data provided by Oklahoma energy companies and a new study conducted by Stanford University, OGCD modified their rules to better address the situation in Logan and northern Oklahoma Counties.”

“The governor said citizens shouldn’t expect the new rules to result in an immediate reduction in the frequency of earthquakes—it could take several months. But I was very glad to have an opportunity to hear what Governor Fallin, Secretary Teague and other members of the Council on Seismic Activity had to say about the current situation and the state’s response.”

Tuesday, 04 August 2015 10:01

County Commissioners report for August 4

After the regular order of business, the Okmulgee county commissioners had the following agenda items:

The Board approved the Addendum to the Juvenile Detention Services Agreement with Tulsa County for Fiscal Year 2015-2016.

The Board approved the Resolutions to Dispose of Equipment to junk (2) Lanier copiers and (1) Xerox Memorywriter typewriter for the County Health Department.

The Board approved the Detention Transportation Claims for OJA for the months of January, February, March, April, May and June, 2015.

The Board approved the Invitation to Bid for the County Fairgrounds CDBG Project, to be opened August 31, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. This project will replace beef barn roof, replace guttering for buildings, construct parking and sidewalks.

The Board approved Invitation to Bid #1 to lease purchase one or more, 2010 or newer, all-wheel drive grader, to be opened August 17, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

That concluded the business for the day.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Bob Burke, an attorney, a historian and prolific author, skewered Oklahoma’s new workers’ compensation law during an appearance on the television program “The Hot Seat”.

The previous law “went too far, awarding too much money” to injured employees, Burke told moderator Scott Mitchell. However, rather than “striking a balance,” the Republican-dominated Legislature and the Republican governor replaced it with a law that has swung the pendulum too far the opposite direction, Burke contends.

The new law, which was adopted in 2013, established an administrative workers’ compensation system alongside the Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims.

The new, separate system was created by Senate Bill 1062, which contained 172 sections and was 207 pages long. The courts have “thrown out” about a dozen unconstitutional provisions that were embedded in SB 1062, and 18 more appeals are pending in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Burke said.

The new law is jeopardizing “the grand bargain,” he believes. Under that unwritten but widely accepted pact, an injured worker surrendered the right to sue his/her employer for pain and suffering and/or for punitive damages, in exchange for “reasonable” benefits that included medical care and enough money to live on, paid for by employers and their insurance companies.

“I’m afraid the grand bargain has been breached,” Burke said. The state is “cutting benefits to the bone.” Oklahoma’s benefits for injured workers are now “the lowest in America,” Burke claimed.

What’s needed is a workers’ compensation system that serves businesses and injured workers alike, he said.

In another televised program airing this weekend, state Reps. Richard Morrissette and Leslie Osborn debate the Corporation Commission’s response to the spate of earthquakes rattling much of Oklahoma, the recent decision to allow independent voters to participate in state Democratic Party primary elections, and the latest public relations fiasco to befall the Oklahoma GOP: the racist photograph and commentary posted Wednesday on the Facebook page of the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women.

Also on the “Your Vote Counts” program, the two legislators discuss the financial soundness of Oklahoma’s state government.

Osborn, R-Mustang, pointed out that although General Revenue Fund receipts for Fiscal Year 2015 came in slightly below estimate, FY ’15 tax collections actually surpassed FY ’14 revenues by $98.5 million. Oklahoma’s economy is growing, just not as much as had been projected, she maintained.

Oklahoma’s tax system “is all screwed up,” asserted Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City. “If we don’t watch out,” the State of Oklahoma will find itself in a fiscal pickle as bad as the one in Kansas, he tells Mitchell. A deep cut in the state income tax resulted in a dramatic revenue shortfall for the Sunflower State.

“We’re headed for a train wreck,” Morrissette predicted.

The Oklahoma Legislature faced a $188 million budget shortfall in FY 2014, and a $611 million deficit in FY 2015. In addition, the next phase of the reduction in the state income tax, from 5.25% to 5%, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016. The budget deficit for FY ’17 is already projected to be $300 million or higher.

“The Hot Seat” aired at 7:50 a.m. Saturday on KWTV-9 in Oklahoma City, and “Your Vote Counts” will be broadcast at 7:50 a.m. Sunday on KWTV. Afterward, both 10-minute programs are streamed on the Internet at www.news9.com/yourvotecounts

TULSA, Okla. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, held a press conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 26, 2015 to announce provisions of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act (S. 1647) that will directly benefit the state and to announce growing Oklahoma support for the legislation.

Inhofe, along with EPW Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Cali.) and Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), introduced on Tuesday the DRIVE Act, a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.
The following provisions in the DRIVE Act will directly benefit the state of Oklahoma:

Apportionment: Under the DRIVE Act, Oklahoma will receive roughly $657 million the first year the legislation is enacted, and an average increase of 3 percent each additional year over the life of the bill. In 2005, Senator Inhofe authored a highway reauthorization bill that ensured Oklahoma was no longer a donor state to the Highway Trust Fund. The DRIVE Act continues to guarantee that Oklahoma receives its gasoline taxes for Oklahoma roads and bridges.

Bridges: Oklahoma state and local governments will have more allocated funding for bridges both on and off the National Highway System, so Oklahoma can continue to address the many bridges across the state that are in need of repair or replacement. Furthermore, for bridges that have a higher level of risk, work can be done during the crucial summer construction season even if certain non-endangered bird species are present on the bridge.

National Freight Program: Establishes a freight program, which provides funds to improve goods movement, reducing costs and improving performance for businesses and individuals. Under this program, Oklahoma will receive $31 million in the first year after the legislation is enacted that will be dedicated to improving freight corridors and associated assets allowing for local businesses and farmers to transport products and materials more efficiently, cutting down costs for them and their consumers.

Assistance for major projects program (AMPP): Through this new program, Oklahoma will be able to compete for funding to address major projects of high importance to a community, a region, or the country. This will provide much needed funding for projects that are too big to get off the ground due to constraints on traditional funding. The program has a rural set-aside and equitable geographic distribution of funds.

Natural Gas provisions: Provides for the designation of natural gas fueling corridors to identify the needs and most vital locations for such fueling infrastructure. Oklahoma will be able to nominate facilities to be included in the corridors to be chosen by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, natural gas vehicles can be included as an authorized vehicle in HOV lanes if a state chooses to limit HOV lanes to designated vehicles. Furthermore, the bill includes a limited truck weight exemption for natural gas commercial vehicles to put them on an even competitive level with trucks that have lighter diesel engines.
Tribal transportation program: Grows the program by $10 million each year, starting at $460 million in year one. Decreases program management and oversight and project-related administrative expenses related to the tribal transportation program from 6% to 5% so more money can be used on roads and bridges. Increases the set-aside for high-priority tribal bridges from 2 percent to 3 percent. Authorizes a General Fund appropriation for a major project grant program for transportation projects on facilities owned by federal land management agencies or tribes.

Environmental streamlining: Builds on the streamlining provisions Senator Inhofe helped negotiate in the last highway reauthorization bill, MAP-21. Environmental streamlining will allow for the review, permitting, and approval processes to be conducted more efficiently, saving Oklahoma time and money when undertaking projects.

Service club, charitable association, or religious service signs: Grandfathers existing service club, charitable association, or religious service signs in all states with a size of 32 square feet or less.

To view a summary of the bill, CLICK HERE

The Oklahoma endorsements of the DRIVE Act are as follows:

“In Norman, we’ve seen the benefits that come from a long term highway and transportation re-authorization bill. The railroad underpass east of the intersection of Robinson and Flood Streets is a direct result of such legislation and we applaud and support Sen. Inhofe’s efforts to again bring forward a long term highway bill. Prior to having the underpass, emergency responders often faced the possibility of being stopped by a slow moving train while rushing to and from Norman Regional Hospital less than a mile away. This is no longer a concern as traffic moves smoothly under the railway, alleviating congestion and easing the concerns of the emergency workers who respond when time is of the essence. In addition, Norman has benefitted greatly from safety enhancements and congestion mitigation on Interstate 35 and State Highway 9. Traffic delays have been reduced significantly and fewer citizens have been injured in traffic collisions.” – Steve Lewis, city manager for the City of Norman

“Our transportation system is integral to growth and development of counties everywhere. I commend Senator Inhofe for his efforts on this highway bill as it will enhance the foundation of infrastructure in Tulsa County.” – John Smaligo, Jr., chairman of the Tulsa County Board of Commissioners.

“Long term and sustainable funding for the federal Highway Bill is imperative for the continued economic success of the City of Owasso, the Tulsa region, and all of Oklahoma. Completing the widening of U.S. 169 and completing 46th Street North to the Port of Catoosa will address significant safety concerns of deficient road and bridge infrastructure, and ensure positive economic returns in all areas of industry and commerce for the greater Owasso area.” – Warren Lehr, city manager for the City of Owasso

“Road builders across Oklahoma are ready to roll up their sleeves and get back to work building our infrastructure. From the recent ramp closures on the crumbling I-44 Belle Isle Bridge in Oklahoma City to the rehabilitation of I-244 in Tulsa, our infrastructure is in perilous condition. Recently, the weather in Oklahoma has exposed an even greater need for a long-term funding solution for our nation's roads and bridges. With this new highway bill, we will be able to better plan for Oklahoma’s future, resulting in an infrastructure system that can safely network our nation. We commend and congratulate Sen. Inhofe for his tireless drive to forge a sustainable solution. His actions will not only build Oklahoma but will spur the economy and, most importantly, keep our families safe while traveling. Thank you, Sen. Inhofe, for making Oklahoma's roads and bridges a top priority.” – Bobby Stem, executive director of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors
“Our nation’s transportation infrastructure is critical to our economic health and the reauthorization of the highway bill could not be more important. It was vital to an Oklahoma City project, the reconstruction of I-40 in Central Oklahoma City, that replaced a damaged, obsolete bridge with a safe freeway with a longer lifespan. Stable funding will allow communities across the nation to see these same improvements so that businesses can transport goods and travelers can move safely to their destinations.” – Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

“I am pleased to hear Senator Inhofe is moving forward with the introduction of a long-term highway bill. Transportation investment greatly benefits all Oklahomans,” he said. “We applaud Senator Inhofe’s leadership to recognize the importance of this investment. The bill will help address the critical needs of our highways and other infrastructure, while providing safer roads, well-paying jobs, and supporting Oklahoma’s economy.” – Jim Duit, president of Duit Construction Company, Inc. in Edmond, Oklahoma

“The new Highway Trust Bill will help our Nation return to one of the basics of our highway system—moving freight. Upon completion of the interstate highway system authorized under the 1956 Highway Trust Bill, our country began emphasizing ancillary transportation items to include recreation with the development of such things as bicycle paths. It now, however, is critically important for us to move back to developing highway infrastructure to insure that we can move freight in a timely, efficient manner. This is critically important to inland, international seaports like our Tulsa Port of Catoosa that offers year round muti-modal freight services through truck, rail, and barge for an ever growing cargo volume—currently over 2 million tons per year. Since barges cannot go door to door, we must have adequate rail and roadways to deliver and/or receive products to and from barges. This is vitally important to the 70 industrial clients located here at the Port employing over 4,000 people. Our thanks to Senator Inhofe for leading our Nation back to the basics of furthering the development and maintenance of our roadway system in his capacity as Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.” – Bob Portiss, port director of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa

“We must have a long-term highway reauthorization bill because the nation’s highway and infrastructure system is the foundation of commerce, not just for the strength of our business but more importantly for our customers’ livelihoods. And in no uncertain terms, the number one concern we hear from our customers -- both professional truck drivers and traveling families -- is for safety on our country’s roadways.” – Tom Love, founder and executive chairman of Love’s Travel Stops

“Senator Inhofe has been a tireless champion of the need for and importance of investment in our nation’s infrastructure. The multi-year surface transportation re-authorization bill is critically important to providing stability and predictability in transportation funding and builds on the MAP-21 reforms with streamlining and flexibility features that will help to accelerate project delivery. We are encouraged that the action of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will spur attention on the too often delayed but most timely issue of transportation funding. Senator’s Inhofe leadership in this effort is to be commended.” – Rich Brierre, executive director of INCOG

“Surface transportation systems are vitally important to safety and prosperity not only in Oklahoma but across our Nation. The Highway Bill further enables the Southern Plains Transportation Center, based at the University of Oklahoma, to continue to develop new technologies and educate the workforce. Through the Center, OU, OSU and Langston University as well as other institutions serve the surrounding five-state region. Transportation professionals at state Departments of Transportation and in private businesses employ resulting best practices to design, develop and maintain our roads and bridges.” – Dr. Tom Landers, dean of University of Oklahoma’s College of Engineering Department

“OGE Energy counts safety in the work place and at home as one of its primary values. We’re pleased that the 2015 Highway Reauthorization Bill emphasizes safety by including funding for grade separation that could remediate dangerous rail crossings, something we face daily in our workplaces. We thank Chairman Inhofe for his vision in including this safety component in his bill, and encourage our entire delegation to support the legislation when it reaches their respective chambers.” – Randy Swanson, director of public affairs for OGE Energy Corp

“Enovation Controls applauds Senator Inhofe’s leadership to promote the use of cleaner, less expensive natural gas as a transportation fuel. This legislation is good for Oklahoma’s jobs and industry, as well as the environment and the nation as more natural gas powered commercial vehicles operate on our highways. We look forward to supporting this legislation and working with Senator Inhofe to ensure its passage.” – Patrick W. Cavanagh, president and chief executive officer of Enovation Controls

“A good, reliable infrastructure is vitally important to Oklahoma agriculture. We need safe and efficient roads and bridges to transport our valuable commodities to market. We applaud Sen. Inhofe for recognizing this need and for his continuing support of agriculture.” – Tom Buchanan, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau
“A long-term highway bill is great news for the energy industry in Oklahoma and across the nation. In order to access and move our product to all possible markets, we need reliable and up-to-date infrastructure. We support Senator Inhofe’s efforts in focusing on a freight program that can be used to identify and fund projects to help move energy from the ground to other points along the production line, and ultimately to consumers around the world.” – Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO Continental Resources

"A long term highway funding bill that upgrades and strengthens our nation's infrastructure and eliminates red tape is critical to a vibrant U.S. economy. American companies like Devon depend on reliable infrastructure to support jobs and the economy across our country." – John Richels, president and CEO of Devon Energy
“People forget that one of the main reasons Eisenhower set out to build the interstate system was for national security purposes. In order to have a well-supplied, trained, and responsive military, this nation needs a reliable and durable highway system. This is especially important for Oklahoma’s six military installations. From McAlester Army Ammunition Plant producing all general purpose bombs for our Navy and Air Force and Tinker Air Force Base that is home to the Air Force’s largest Air Logistics Complex, to the Army’s Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill and the critical training accomplished at Vance Air Force Base, Altus Air Force Base, and Camp Gruber Joint Maneuver Training Center, this long-term transportation bill and its focus on federal priorities is critical to our national security. Senator Inhofe’s leadership on transportation and national security is vital to not just to Oklahoma and Oklahomans but our nation all a whole.” – Randy Young, director of Military Aviation and Aerospace for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

“We have grown very stagnant during the last several years as our business has faced nothing but continuing resolutions to depend on to keep our employees working in the highway industry across Oklahoma and Arkansas. Plans to expand our business in Oklahoma City with new facilities are still on hold today which means our expansion dollars will not be spent until we have assurance that the revenue stream for funding will become consistent over several years at a time rather than six months at a time. All employees working in the highway industry rely heavily on overtime dollars and during a stable and consistent program properly funded we will average 50 to 60 hour work weeks, which means about a 20 percent increase over base pay rates. Now that there is the DRIVE Act, we urge for passage of this legislation that can mean more to not only Oklahoma but all of America. I appreciate that Senator Jim Inhofe and his colleagues are listening to those in the industry, and I hope more in Congress will believe the fact that a stable-funded infrastructure program across the country will immediately release the trigger for growth that today still sits stagnant. I urge Congress to pass this six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, and let’s rebuild our most valuable asset that any of us living in America have. It’s the right thing to do.” – Mike Webb, president of Manhattan Road and Bridge

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