The Co-Chairs of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources both praised provisions of House Bill 1234, the General Appropriations bill.
Senators Randy Bass, a Democrat from Lawton, and David Myers, a Republican from Ponca City, said the GA bill serves as an appropriate blueprint to ensure critical services upon which all Oklahomans depend remain intact. Both senators were involved in negotiating the base-level funding contained in HB 1234 for agencies under the jurisdiction of the Natural Resources subcommittee. The senators said the bill is a product of sincere, bipartisan cooperation.
"This bill includes funds for rural firefighters and their equipment, along with money for agriculture and conservation programs. This legislation is very important for rural Oklahoma," said Myers.
"We owe it to our citizens, and to the generations of Oklahomans yet born, to protect the natural resources of this great state so they will have clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink," Bass said. "Providing funding to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma Water Resource Board will allow us to do just that."
Bass also said he is pleased the operational grants for Oklahoma's mostly volunteer rural fire departments will continue.
"We fought hard last year to double the grants to our rural fire departments which so often depend on money raised through pie auctions and bake sales to make ends meet," Bass said. "The funding included in this bill allows them to continue their heroic service of keeping our homes, churches, and farm and ranchland safe from the dangers of wildfires."
Both senators hope the bipartisan legislation will be signed into law.