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Ada News: Cole: EPA says Kerr Lab to have permanent director by fall

May 31, 2013
News Stories

Ada News - Eric Swanson

Environmental Protection Agency officials have assured U.S. Rep. Tom Cole that Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center will have a new permanent director by September, Cole said Thursday.

Cole said Congress should not get involved in personnel issues at the EPA, but lawmakers have a forum for seeking information from agency officials. He added that he recently discussed the situation at Kerr Lab with officials who pledged to fill the director’s job this fall.

“We’re going to stay on them until they do, and hopefully the future of the facility will be secure,” Cole said. “We do not want to lose it.”

Cole hosted a town hall meeting at East Central University during Congress’ Memorial Day recess, which began Monday and runs through today. The meeting touched on a variety of topics, including job losses at Kerr Lab.

Kerr Lab’s mission is to protect and restore surface water and ecosystems affected by manmade or natural events.

The facility has approximately 135 employees and contractors for a total annual payroll of $13 million. Ada Jobs Foundation estimates Kerr Lab's payroll generates about $4.4 million annual in local retail sales.

However, the economic impact of Kerr Lab is likely to fade because 22 contract employees with CB&I will be out of work when the company’s contract with the EPA expires at the end of June.

Online: Ada News