Congressman Touts Waterway Expansion Project at Port of CatoosaThu, 28 Aug 2014 17:00:17 CDT
Oklahoma agriculture celebrated the importance of the state's largest inland river-ports at the Port of Catoosa. TheTulsa port is a market conduit for crop producers in Oklahoma and nearby states, as wheat and soybeans are shipped from Catoosa to export markets. The port is also a hub for fertilizer shipments that are brought into Catoosa and then trucked out to the countryside. Earlier this year Congress passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014 which will provide funding for the navigational waterway system. Expansion of the Port of Catoosa will begin this year. The expansion project could cost as much as $10 million.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm News Director Ron Hays was at the Port of Catoosa Thursday and spoke with Oklahoma's Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin. Mullin said WRRDA was an important piece of legislation for the region and for all the economies around the world that are attached to the US. (Click on the LISTEN BAR below for Mullin's comments).
"When we pass something as important as WRRDA which deals directly with our waterways and when you're talking about in the central part of the United States, the heartbeat of our country, where we provide a tremendous amount of food for not just to our country, but for the world around us and we're able to bring certainty to our waterway by saying we're going to do whatever it takes to keep this thing open and it shows the importance that the federal government has puts in," Mulllin said.
"Not only did we cut spending, but we cut a tremendous amount of red tape," he said. "At the same time we allowed the port to be able to invest and to have certainty in what they're going to have to work with and the ag community to have certainty knowing they're going to be able to get their products from point a to point b."
Earlier this year WRRDA was passed overwhelming by the House and Senate and President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law in June. Mullin said WRRDA projects are getting close to getting started as the government is getting the permits necessary to these projects accomplished.
The press conference also allowed Mullin to address the 'Waters of the US' proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. Currently the proposal is open for comment through the Federal Register. Mullin said he does not look for EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to pull the rule.
"In my opinion I don't see them backing off," Mullin said. "I think that Congress is going to have to get a lot more authority pushed over them and that's going to begin with us getting the people in the elected positions that is going to be making tough decisions that isn't necessarily always to their party, but to this country and I think we're moving in that direction."
Regardless if the GOP takes the Senate in November, Mullin said ultimately the President has the right to veto and he doesn't think the Senate will have a veto-proof majority. Mullin said the best way to stop WOTUS is by having Americans voice their displeasure with the measure to the White House.
"He (President Obama) is swayed by the public's opinion," Mullin said. "If we know anything about the President, we know he's a very good politician and a politician means that the way the public is going, he's probably going to go and he's not going to lead, so I think we can probably get his attention."
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