Federal bill looks to ease flooding in Miami; city leaders voice concerns


MIAMI, Okla. – For years, Grand Lake has flooded neighboring lands due to high rains, recent legislation hopes to solve that problem, but Miami city leaders have their concerns.

The City of Miami is concerned about flooding issues it’s been dealing with for several decades. The city agrees that responsibilities need to be better clarified, but it may not actually fix the flooding problem.

Senator James Inhofe hopes to amend a bill that has impacts on Grand Lake that is now awaiting final approval. The bill clarifies who’s responsible for flood control management and who is held responsible if the area does flood. However, there are some pieces of the legislation the city says will actually hurt Miami.

“In relationship to our concerns related to the relicensing of the lake and the fact that GRDA lacks proper easements for that lake. In other words they are flooding property they don’t have the right to flood.”

Dean Kruithof, Miami City Manager

Senator Inhofe hopes the legislation will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to be the sole agency that oversees Grand Lake Flood Control Management. Another issue from the city is they were not notified of the proposed changes.

“For decades Miami has been told is all the issues we’ve had with the lake on the way the lake floods our community the time to bring things up is to try to get them resolved is the relicensing. But what we are concerned about is the Inhofe Amendment through the middle of this project all of a sudden changes the rules but we were trying to follow the rules.”

Dean Kruithof, Miami City Manager

We reached out to Senator James Inhofe’s Office and they said

“My amendment creates stability for the Grand Lake region by establishing statutory clarity between the two federal agencies that have jurisdiction over the lake. It makes it clear that the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for flood management as they have historically been, to prevent flooding for the entire Arkansas River Basin.”

The $750 billion federal bill has been approved by the Senate and is headed to the House of Representatives. Then it faces a conference committee before the president approves it.

The city is hoping changes can be put off for at least a year so they can work with the GRDA to reach an agreement on the issue.

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