Oklahoma State Senate Communications Division
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 30 For Immediate Release: July , 2003 Clip
Senator David Myers
Senator Myers and Congressman Lucas Seek
Federal Assistance for Atmospheric Research Site State Senator David Myers, RPonca City, and U.S. Representative Frank Lucas, RCheyenne, are seeking federal support for improvements at a federal research facility in rural Grant County.
On Tuesday morning, Sen. Myers and a field representative for Congressman Lucas, Julie Arntz, toured the U.S. Department of Energys Atmospheric Radiation Measurement ARM program site near Lamont to boost awareness of the sites needs.
In addition to their tour, Sen. Myers and Arntz also met with ARM officials to discuss the poor condition of the sites access roads, as well as the possibility of securing approximately 0,000 to 0,000 in federal funds for a gravelling project.
This site is extremely important to the Department of Energys research mission, and it brings hundreds of scientists from all over the world to Oklahoma each year. I want to do everything I can to help support their efforts, whether its on the state or federal level, Myers said.
The ARM Central Facility is currently equipped with dirt access roads, which makes it difficult for the sites staff to transport people and equipment. Senator Myers said that the main access road needs at least a temporary surface until county officials are able to upgrade the sites road network with state funds.
Although the state granted funds for an overall road improvement project a couple of years ago, budget constraints and a lack of manpower availability have delayed the construction of a more permanent road system. I am hopeful that we can get some federal assistance that will allow some gravel to be put down for the time being, Myers added.
Lucas could not attend the facility tour on Tuesday because he had to attend debate in the U.S. House. However, Lucas expressed concern that the site be able to continue its important work, which has implications not only for Oklahoma but also for the entire planet.
The ARM program is a hidden treasure of sorts, Lucas said.
Few Oklahomans know that on the back roads of rural Oklahoma is a worldclass U.S. climatological research facility one of only three in the world. Ill be working with state and local officials, including State Senator Myers, to ensure this facility has the resources available to continue its important scientific research.
The ARM Southern Great Plains Cloud and Energy Testbed SGP CART project gathers information about how clouds impact the energy balance of the climate system and has the distinction of being the largest outdoor laboratory in the world, according to ARM officials. The site was recently approved as a World Class User Research Facility where scientists can conduct experiments for up to a year or more.
ARM officials estimate that the site generates more than million for the Northern Oklahoma economy each year. Senator Myers said visiting researchers often stay in hotels and motels, make food and entertainment purchases, and rent automobiles in nearby cities such as Enid and Ponca City.
This facility certainly has a positive impact on my district, but it also impacts our state by its presence. What we are asking for is relatively small in terms of federal funding, so I hope that we can get the ball rolling on this project as soon as possible, Myers said.