Lawmakers Host Study On Arkansas River Flooding
TULSA, Oklahoma - Four months after historic flooding destroyed homes, farmland, and property, state lawmakers are meeting at the capitol for an in-depth review of what happened.
Tuesday is day two of an interim study hosted by state representative Lonnie Sims in Oklahoma City.
"We've gotta gain lessons from what happened,” said Sims, a Republican who represents parts of Jenks. “It was horrific. A lot of lives were impacted, our state was impacted greatly from a financial standpoint."
Stake holders from across Green Country made their way to the capitol to share their stories about the flood.
Mayors, emergency management directors, the corps of engineers, farmers and homeowners all took turns describing how it impacted them and what they learned.
Sims says lawmakers also want to learn how they can help at the state level.
After speaking with victims, Sims says he's planning to propose legislation next session with respect to hazard mitigation districts.
"Right now, we have counties and municipalities that can't even qualify for the FEMA funding,” said Sims. “So even if they send in their application and FEMA says yes, we'll provide funding of 90 percent, they don't have that 10 percent to pay for it."
Sims says they're also working with their local and federal partners to make sure they secure funding for improvements to the levees.
And throughout the study, he says they'll be listening and learning to see what else they can do.
"You've got to make these learning opportunities for all of us so we're better prepared for the next one,” said Sims. “Hopefully we can prevent it, but if we can't, hopefully, we can mitigate it to the point that it's not nearly as disastrous as it's been."