OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mike Sanders praised the quick work of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe to secure an agreement that will allow rural fire departments to continue to access surplus military vehicles that don’t meet Environmental Protection Agency emission standards.
“The pressure put on the EPA and Department of Defense by Senator Inhofe and other Oklahoma officials has resulted in an exemption being created for fire departments and law enforcement agencies so that the public safety of our communities is given priority over a policy that was intended to reduce emissions. This is a big win for our rural communities in Western Oklahoma.
“Our volunteer rural fire departments will now have the tools they need to protect lives and property in our communities. I am grateful to those fine public servants for their service.”
Under the new agreement, the Department of Defense will retain the titles to the vehicles given to fire departments and law enforcement agencies through the Federal Excess Personal Property and the Firefighter Property Program. All equipment and vehicles acquired through the program will have to be tracked and returned once they are no longer in use. In the past, fire departments sold their surplus equipment.
The new agreement is the best short-term solution, according to Inhofe. Officials will continue to work to create a better long-term solution, Sanders said.
“There are potential problems with the new agreement, but officials are hoping to have them ironed out down the road,” Sanders said.