Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review the impact of enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on specialty crop growers. Specifically, Subcommittee Members addressed growing concerns that DOL is using the "Hot Goods" provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an arbitrary manner against producers of perishable agricultural commodities without regard for the inevitable destruction of the product and significant economic hardship inflicted on farmers and their employees.
Lucas Announces Federal Funds for Rehabilitating Oklahoma Flood Control Structures
Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184
WASHINGTON – Today, Ranking Member Frank Lucas announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be distributing more than $7 million to rehabilitate aging flood control structures in Oklahoma. The purpose of rehabilitation is to extend the service life of the dams and bring them into compliance with applicable safety and performance standards, or to decommission the dams so they no longer pose a threat to life and property.
“I am proud that Oklahoma is the recipient of this vital funding, which comes at a fitting time when our dams are in need of repair. Oklahoma is home to some of the nation’s oldest dams.…..,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas.
Rep. Lucas authored the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Act of 2000. The inspiration for this legislation was the 50th anniversary of the nation’s first watershed dam structure, which is located outside Cordell, Oklahoma (Cloud Creek Site No. 1). There are more than 10,000 watershed dams in need of repair. 2000 of those are located in Oklahoma. Lucas has worked to ensure the rehabilitation program is funded through the annual appropriations process. Additionally, Lucas worked to secure $100 million for the rehabilitation of these dams in the 2008 farm bill.
Federal funds for the projects will be administered through the Watershed Rehabilitation Program of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Under this program, NRCS provides up to 65 percent of funding for rehabilitation projects, with project sponsors from both state and local sources providing the remaining 35 percent. The following sites were chosen for rehabilitation on the basis that they are the most cost-effective projects where there is the greatest risk of infrastructure failure and threat to life and property.
Cottonwood Creek 15 $3,610,000
Washita-Sugar Creek L-43 1,645,000
Washita-Sugar Creek L-44 1,790,000