Senator Inhofe spoke at a noon meeting Thursday at the Jackson County Farm Bureau. Glen Winters hosted the event, and lunch was provided. Senator Inhofe spoke on a variety of subjects, giving a quick update on what's happening in Washington, D.C.
Inhofe reaffirmed that Altus Air Force Base would definitely get the KC-X. The first planes will be delivered to the base for training possibly as early as 2011 or 2012. This is great news for the economy of Altus and the surrounding area as well as security against future BRAC decisions on base closures. Inhofe stated that there are two companies competing for the contract, Boeing and Air Bus. The contract should be awarded within a month.
The Farm Bill has passed both the House and the Senate, but Senator Inhofe stated it is too early to tell what the final bill will look like. He stated that there are several amendments attached.
Inhofe was extremely disappointed with the Engergy Bill and was opposed to its passage. He said it is “lousy” and called it an “Engergy Bill without any energy.” There are no provisions for nuclear energy or clean coal technology, nor are there any provisions for oil exploration or refinerey expansion. In addition, the livestock, poultry, and meat industries of Oklahoma will be hurt with the renewable fuels standard (corn ethanol) increases. These new standards will increase the cost of food prices. Other problems associated with corn ethanol are the economic sustainability, transportation infrastructure needs, and water usage in the process. He believes the end result of the Engery Bill will be an increase in cost at the gas pumps.
Inhofe was instrumental in passing the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA). Two important features of the WRDA that affect Altus are the Red River Chloride Control Project. With the passage of this bill, the operation and maintenance of Oklahoma chloride control projects at the Red River will be at the expense of the federal government instead of Oklahoma. These projects will enhance the drinking water supply and agricultural irrigation in the area.
WRDA also appropriates $5 million for water-related infrastructure projects at the Lugert-Altus Irrigation District.
Inhofe said that he recently returned from a visit to the Middle East and that he saw a lot of progress being made. However, he epxressed concern that the assasination of Benazir Bhutto will have a negative impact on the progress.
Senator Inhofe has been voted the “Most Outstanding Conservative U.S. Senator” by Human Events Newspaper and the American Conservative Union. However, he stated that he isn't conservative with his spending in three areas: defense, infrastructure, and unfunded mandate spending. He is also the second ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator McCain is the only one who outranks him at this time.
Senator Inhofe's website is www.inhofe.senate.gov.