OK House okays bill to allow bonds for repair of aging dams

A bill authorizing the issue of bonds to improve and repair some of the state’s high-risk flood-control dams passed the House on Monday with a vote of 93-1.

House Bill 3298 by state Rep. Carl Newton (R-Cherokee) authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority (OCIA) to acquire property and invest capital to update dams throughout Oklahoma.

“Many of these dams are more than 50 years old and have reached their life expectancy,” Newton said. “It is important that we protect the homes and cities that are built beneath these structures, many of which supply water to surrounding communities.”

HB 3298 is asking for the ability to bond $17.5 million for property acquisition and would make use of a 65% federal match of $50 million to extend the life of these dams. Debt retirement payments would be made by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. The bill passed in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 19-0 in February.

HB 3298 is co-authored by House Majority Leader Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher) and House Majority Deputy Floor Leader John Pfeiffer (R-Orlando). The bill now moves to the state Senate where it is authored by Sen. Darcy Jech (R-Kingfisher).

Source: House release