Senators Inhofe & Coburn respond to Dr Cox’s “Thank you FERC (Not)”


Recently, many constituents have again contacted us with concerns over the annual lowering of lake levels at Grand Lake prior to the Labor Day holiday weekend. Some of these concerns were expressed by State Representative Doug Cox. Unfortunately, he may have misunderstood the responsibilities of the agencies involved, and therefore blamed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Because Grand Lake serves many purposes, including hydropower, recreation, tourism, fish and wildlife, and flood control, these varied purposes often conflict with each other. The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) is the entity responsible for balancing all local needs, consistent with local, State and federal laws. In our capacities as U.S. Senators we have consistently sought to facilitate local conflict resolution between the Oklahomans most affected by the management of Grand Lake and GRDA.

Whether it is the lake levels or the millet seed program, these issue must be addressed by Oklahomans and not by Washington, D.C., politicians and bureaucrats. We all agree we don’t need Washington, D.C., telling us how to manage Grand Lake. That is why we believe it is in the best interests of everyone for GRDA to develop a plan to balance the needs of all users of Grand Lake and submit it to FERC for approval. We stand ready to support any agreed-upon plan to FERC. Until that time, the lake will be managed in accordance with the current policies.

Senator Jim Inhofe and Dr. Tom Coburn

Editors Note: The Grand Lake Business Journal was contacted by Senator Jim Inhofe’s office yesterday regarding the lake level comment we recently posted by State Representative Doug Cox, MD. The Journal was asked to publish the above response.

Corp of Engineers requests GRDA close all Gates

12 Responses to Senators Inhofe & Coburn respond to Dr Cox’s “Thank you FERC (Not)”

  1. The effect on docks and danger to tourists in boats far outweighs the lowering of Grand Lake, especially
    since the former years seeding has not really changed anything and they are not going to seed again this
    year….Just doesn't make sense….Please explain GRDA….

    Ben Hynum
    September 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm

  2. I stand by my comments.
    FERC is the one that denied GRDA's request not to lower the lake this year, since they were not seeding millet.
    FERC is the one that told GRDA to lower the lake by opening the gates rather than generating power (as they wanted to measure the dissolved oxygen level in the tailrace when no generation was being done).
    The "F" in FERC stands for FEDERAL.
    With all due respect to our Senators, I regret they are not being more supportive of the Oklahomans that live on, play on, visit, and support the economy of Grand Lake

    Rep. Doug Cox M.D.

    Rep. Doug Cox M.D.
    September 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm

  3. It sounds as though our senators need to be updated on the recent correspondence between GRDA & FERC before taking a position. It also seems that it is the GRDA's responsibility to only submit a plan, but it is FERC that has the power to approve/disapprove. I think we need an answer from FERC on the denial of this years GRDA plan. Mr Senators do you agree?

    Todd Lee
    September 9, 2010 at 3:13 pm

  4. So if the Senators are correct on GRDA needing to submit a plan. We need to put a ton of pressure on GRDA to come up with a plan to change their agreement with FERC. This needs to be a full fledged plan instead of just a request to not lower this year. Because the agreement they signed years back was a rediculous agreement in the first place. Why don't we hear more from GRDA standing up, instead of just the same old reply of the reason it is lowered.? What is their motive for not breaking the commitment? Why are our Senators taking the side of FERC instead of their own constituents?

    Dustin Phillips
    September 9, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    • The lake is not owned by theGRDA. It is owned by the FERC and leased to the GRDA. Just because we all visit or live on the lake does not mean you can do whatever you desire. If you buy property on the shallow part of the lake then that is YOUR FAULT. If your dock sits on the ground during part of the year then that is YOUR FAULT.

      Cheryl Lenhart
      September 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm

  5. Here is the contact at FERC that replied to my letter.

    If anyone else wishes to express similar concerns to this agency, please have them submit comments through this link:

    Mark Hershfield
    Office of External Affairs
    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    (202) 502-8597

    Dustin Phillips
    September 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm

  6. All above should read the letter dated 21 April 2010 from the United States Department of the Interior, where there could be support for a potential rule curve change IF GRDA would address issues noted. To quote the letter in part– "Article 411 and impacts related to rule curve change has been in effect since 1996 and relatively little mitigation has been provided in 14 years." SO blame GRDA not FERC. This letter is on FERC's eLibrary and available to all.

    D. Read
    September 9, 2010 at 9:48 pm

  7. I concur with Doug Cox; there seems to be some political tap dancing by our senators.

    Tom Riggs
    September 9, 2010 at 10:23 pm

  8. Corp of Engineers ask GRDA to close all gates, see new story front page

    The Editor
    September 10, 2010 at 10:58 am

  9. I agree with Dr. Cox. Too much tap dancing by our senators. Not only did FERC refuse the one-time Labor Day draw-down exception request, but they also chose to flood the area below the dam, where the annual Labor Day event of hundredsof rock-crawlers visiting the area were also washed-out.

    Does anyone care about the local businesses? I assume the taste of warm duck is nice, but the area needs jobs, and small businesses provide the majority of jobs. I'm personally tired of getting 'FERC"ed.

    J Clark
    September 11, 2010 at 7:59 am

    • Justin Alberty, Director of Corporate Relations for GRDA says "Yes, the gates were open to faclitate the drawdown. The reason we did not generate during much of that time was due to the required dissolved oxygen testing taking place in the tailraces at both Pensacola and Kerr dams. I do believe that testing is over now.


      The Editor
      September 13, 2010 at 8:41 pm

  10. One of our readers has provided a link to a story from the Joplin Globe that will shed some light

    The Editor
    September 14, 2010 at 9:39 am

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