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Cole Urges Support for Lake Thunderbird Legislation

June 6, 2012

I rise today in support of my legislation, H.R. 3263, the Lake Thunderbird Efficient Use Act of 2011. Lake Thunderbird is a Bureau of Reclamation project which provides municipal water to Norman, Del City, and Midwest City -- all major municipalities in the Oklahoma City area. The watershed that feeds Lake Thunderbird has not been able to keep the lake full. The water that remains is of poor quality and ill-suited for drinking and recreation.  Lake Thunderbird was built to provide water to a water-starved region, and this would help the Bureau of Reclamation meet the original goals of this project. The bill allows the Central Oklahoma Master Conservatory District to acquire water and store water from outside the Bureau of Reclamation system in Lake Thunderbird.

Any costs associated with this action will be paid for by the district. This legislation costs federal taxpayers nothing. Frankly, Mr. Speaker, in my view, this is the type of legislation or the type of action that we should be able to take administratively.  However, under current law, it requires congressional consent.

Mr. Speaker, I first initiated this legislation in the 110th congress, when central Oklahoma  was in the midst of a significant drought. In July of 2011, Oklahoma  recorded the driest month ever recorded by any of the 50 states since records have been kept.  Central Oklahoma  remains in a drought that's forecast to continue and worsen this summer. H.R. 3263 is important to the economic growth of central Oklahoma .The Oklahoma City metro area has seen tremendous growth and has been a positive economic force at a time of great challenges to the national economy. Water must be available to support the continued growth of this region. This straightforward and commonsense legislation is an important tool to support further growth in central Oklahoma .

Again, I want to thank the chairman and ranking member for their cooperation and I urge my colleagues to vote yes on this legislation.