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Natural Resources

I care deeply for the well-being of our national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands. I believe that our natural resources are among our nation's greatest treasures, and Congress should work to ensure that the environment is preserved for future generations. However, I also believe that our country can and should responsibly use these resources to reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy and strengthen self-sufficiency in terms of the minerals that are essential to our economy and security.

I take protection of our natural resources seriously. Technology exists that allows energy extraction while providing safe habitats for wildlife and their ecosystems. We should take every precaution necessary to ensure contaminates do not harm the environment and maintain programs to manage our resources wisely, while working with landowners to ensure that their property rights are protected.

For Oklahomans, drought and water scarcity is part of our history. Investments in water infrastructure are critical to ensuring the availability and affordability of this critical resource. Doing so will ensure that water resources across the state are managed in a way to meet both our present needs and those of the many generations to come.


Regardless of political points of view, most Americans can agree that good stewardship of the earth and its precious resources is important. And I am always encouraged by the special efforts made by individuals, families and communities to do their part today to ensure a fruitful and beautiful world for generations to come. Certainly, there is an abundance of ideas about how we can take better care of the environment. Unfortunately, some of the latest proposals making headlines are unrealistic.

Most egregious, Democrats in both chambers of Congress rolled out their so-called “Green New Deal,” which is really socialism masking as environmentalism. Not surprisingly, the proposal comes with an astronomical price tag of up to $93 trillion over 10 years – harshly felt by hardworking American taxpayers. While I am always willing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find commonsense solutions for any issue, the Green New Deal is nonsensical, unworkable and simply a departure from reality.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), America was responsible for 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2014. In order to further reduce emissions, the radical Green New Deal calls for complete elimination of fossil fuels from the nation’s energy portfolio in 10 years or less – an unreasonable mandate that would be detrimental to local and state economies. In Oklahoma, where oil and natural gas production has shaped our economy since shortly before statehood, the impact of such a requirement would indeed be severe.

More on Natural Resources

December 7, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole released the following statement after passage of his legislation, H.R. 1219, the Arbuckle Project Maintenance Complex and District Conveyance Act of 2015.
July 14, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5538, the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2017.
April 29, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) announced that the U.S. House of Representatives passed his legislation directing the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study on the feasibility of designating the Chief Standing Bear National Historic Trail (H.R. 984).
September 11, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) led the Oklahoma congressional delegation Wednesday in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Sec. Sally Jewell to urge the Department’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) to discontinue its attempt to resolve programmatic issues with the Oklahoma Department of Mines with "secrecy agreements.”
October 23, 2013 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the United States House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2013.

June 13, 2013 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Supreme Court of the United States upheld Oklahoma water rights in the case, Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann.
June 13, 2013 News Stories

Norman Transcript - Staff Report

Congressman Tom Cole, R- Moore, said he is pleased with the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that upheld Oklahoma water rights in the case, Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann.

This case challenged the terms of the Red River Compact of 1978, a congressionally sanctioned agreement allocating water rights in the Red River Basin shared by Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

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.

January 1, 2013 News Stories

Tulsa World - The Associated Press

Congress has passed legislation that may help boost the water supply in Lake Thunderbird.

The legislation was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom Cole and was carried in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe. The resolution allows the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District to tap into the Atoka line that runs near Lake Thunderbird. The Norman Transcript reports that this raw water source can be used to help raise water levels in Lake Thunderbird during drought conditions.

December 31, 2012 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK-4) today applauded the Senate passage of H.R. 3263, the Lake Thunderbird Efficient Use Act. This measure grants the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District (COMC) authority to import and store non-project water into Lake Thunderbird in order to firm up municipal and industrial water supplies for cities including Norman, Midwest City, and Del City.