theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

State News

July 9, 2014

Inhofe praises decision to save surplus fire equipment program

Washington D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and senior member of the Environment and Public Works committee, praised the agreement reached by the Environment Protection Agency and the Department of Defense that will allow local fire and law enforcement agencies to continue receiving surplus military equipment.

 “I applaud the DOD and EPA for coming to an agreement on a 25-year-old rule that the Department of Defense (DOD) recently decided to start enforcing to the detriment of a program supporting Oklahoma’s local fire departments and their ability to fight wildfires," Inhofe said in a press release.

"This quick resolution would not have been possible without the rapid criticism from many members of Congress and the coordinated effort with Governor  Fallin’s office. The agencies decided to extend the national security exemption for this vital program on the grounds that the vehicles' titles remain under DOD after being repurposed in order to ensure the vehicles are eventually destroyed. This new agreement will create more red tape for our local fire departments by requiring the roughly 17,000 pieces of surplus equipment around the state to now be tracked and returned once they are no longer in use. This is the best short-term answer to maintain the program with the DOD, and I will be working with my colleagues to address the unnecessary regulation created by the agreement," he said.

Each year, Oklahoma’s fire departments receive $13 million to $15 million worth of surplus equipment from the DOD.

The cost of new vehicles falls between $150,000 and $200,000, but the departments are able to take these surplus vehicles and equip them for as low as $30,000.

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