by Gus Blackwell, Rep.-61
Speaker Pro-Tempore

The old saying goes, “Good things come in threes.” This is certainly true of the Panhandle where we have recently seen three bits of good news for our area. The first bit came when the entire area received rain. Although more is needed, it is a good start to end the drought.

The second bit of good news came when the federal government declared that nine counties in northwestern Oklahoma were eligible for federal aid. The declaration that those counties would be eligible for relief due to drought-related problems was the result of the hard work of our congressional delegation. A big thank you to Congressman Lucas and Senator Inhofe who led the charge to bring aid to our Panhandle area.

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Hopefully, the federal judge in Seattle who issued a temporary restraining order on the Critical Feed Usage Program will follow suit and also allow much-needed grazing and haying to farmers in this area. It is the farmers and ranchers who are the real conservationists and whose good stewardship of the land provide forage and comfort for wildlife.

The third good piece of news came from OG&E – an announcement of the formation of Horizon Transmission to provide a 765 kilowatt transmission line from Woodward to the panhandle, one of the best bits of economic development news we’ve received in years. David Fleischaker, the governor’s cabinet secretary of energy, said this is one of the most important announcements for Oklahoma in 25 years.

OG&E, along with Electric Transmission America, will build the line. Electric Transmission America is made up of AEP and Mid-American Energy Holding, a Warren Buffet company.

One hundred twenty miles of this transmission line will open this area to wind farms and allow area farmers and ranchers to begin to collect money for wind generators on their land.

Since this is an entire new venture for our area, it is in the farmers and ranchers’ best interest to have input into the location of this line. For that reason, I will be holding meetings in each county to allow landowners and others to meet with OG&E officials and give input about their desired location for the line. This will be one of the largest transmission lines built in Oklahoma and certainly one of the longest.

As usual, should you have any questions or concerns, please call me at the Capitol at 557-7384. I am also at home in Goodwell where I can also be contacted.

 

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