Legislature to study state’s response to historic Arkansas River flooding

An interim Oklahoma House study of the Arkansas river flooding has been approved by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka but he did not sign off on other proposed water studies. He also approved studies on solar energy.

The Speaker announced a list of 90 interim study requests that he had approved and a request by Rep. Lonnie Sims to review and study the Arkansas River Flood Event of 2019 was among them.

Sims made the request in early July asking for a study to conduct a state-level review of the actions taken leading up to and in response to the historic floods.

“We experienced the second most significant flood event along the Arkansas River since 1986,” Sims said. “The flooding spared no community along its banks as it traversed through Northeastern Oklahoma, nor the cities and towns inundated by the overflows of lesser-known creeks and streams that feed into it.”

“How did we forecast, plan and ultimately respond to protect the people, property, wildlife and environmental treasures of this state?” Sims asked. “We owe it to all who have suffered greatly to gain every lesson possible to better respond and, if at all possible, prevent the next one.”

The Committee on County and Municipal Government will conduct the study.

A water study request by Rep. Justin Humphrey was not approved. Nor was a request by Rep. Carol Bush for a study of water quality conditions and standards in Oklahoma’s waterways.

The Speaker approved a request by Rep. Jadine Nollan to study Motor Vehicle Tax collections and it will be conducted by the Appropriations Committee in the House.

Speaker McCall also approved a study of solar small business in the state. Rep. Denise Brewer requested the study of the impact of opening doors to solar small business on the state’s economy and energy diversification. Her request was combined with Rep. Daniel Pae’s request for a renewable energy study. The House Energy Committee will handle both.