Inhofe Praises Agreement to Save Program Aiding Oklahoma's FirefightersThu, 10 Jul 2014 03:09:20 CDT
Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and senior member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee, has praised the agreement reached by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) that will allow local fire and law enforcement agencies to continue receiving surplus military equipment. The Senator's office released the following statement on Thursday afternoon:
"I applaud the DOD and EPA for coming to an agreement on a 25-year-old rule that the Department of Defense (DOD) recently decided to start enforcing to the detriment of a program supporting Oklahoma's local fire departments and their ability to fight wildfires. This quick resolution would not have been possible without the rapid criticism from many Members of Congress and the coordinated effort with Governor Fallin's office. Today the agencies decided to extend the national security exemption for this vital program on the grounds that the vehicles' titles remain under DOD after being repurposed in order to ensure the vehicles are eventually destroyed. This new agreement will create more red tape for our local fire departments by requiring the roughly 17,000 pieces of surplus equipment around the state to now be tracked and returned once they are no longer in use. This is the best short term answer to maintain the program with the DOD, and I will be working with my colleagues to address the unnecessary regulation created by the agreement. Since Thursday, I have been in contact with both agencies about this issue and I appreciate their responsiveness to my staff and me on this urgent matter. "
Each year, Oklahoma's fire departments receive and rely on $13 million to $15 million worth of surplus equipment from the DOD. The cost of new vehicles falls between $150,000 and $200,000, but the departments are able to take these surplus vehicles and equip them for as low as $30,000.
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