Federal regulation threatens thousands of rural jobs

TISHOMINGO – Republican congressional candidate Dustin Rowe announced today that he will fight federal regulation that threatens thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity in the area surrounding Lake Texoma.

“As I have campaigned in Eastern Oklahoma over the past 10 months, the number one complaint I hear is about federal regulation’s negative impact at the local level,” said Rowe, a Republican candidate for the Second Congressional District seat. “Proposed federal regulation to measure blue-green algae would devastate Eastern Oklahoma tourism when there are more sensible ways to deal with the problem that won’t destroy the economy.”

The recreation and tourism business created by Lake Texoma has become a major economic driver in the region, benefiting sales, profits, jobs, tax revenue and income in the area. Lake Texoma generates an estimated 2,767 jobs, including 1,245 in Oklahoma. Those job figures are comparable to the impact of the General Motors plant in Arlington Texas.

“General Motors spent $500 million on a single plant to create roughly the same number of jobs as Lake Texoma,” Rowe said. “That shows how incredibly difficult it would be to replace the economic impact of Lake Texoma if federal regulations needlessly drive people away from this beautiful natural resource.”

Blue green algae blooms can create hypoxic zones in water sources, effectively depleting oxygen concentrations. While there is a clear need to address the problem, Rowe said local officials should be in charge of that regulation.

“I support efforts to allow the Corps of Engineers to apply state regulations to measure blue-green algae, not federal regulations based on World Health Organization guidelines,” Rowe said. “If the federal WHO-based regulations are imposed, our lakes could effectively shut down in late May. Clearly, state-level regulation based on legitimate science and administered by local experts who live in the area would be far more effective and far less destructive.”

Rowe recently met with Bill Bailey, owner of Little Glasses Marina on Lake Texoma to discuss the federal government’s response to the algae issue.

Overall, Rowe noted that hunters and anglers support an estimated 20,000 jobs in Oklahoma, spend more than $1 billion annually, and (at an estimated 602,000) actually outnumber the combined populations of Tulsa, Norman and Lawton, according to figures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other groups.

“For rural Eastern Oklahoma, tourism has became a cornerstone of the economy, and now federal regulators are poised to shatter that foundation and leave the area economy in shambles,” Rowe said. “As your congressman, I will fight federal overreach and work to allow state-level solutions to environmental challenges. These decisions are best made by local officials who are familiar with the challenges of local communities, not some far-off bureaucrat on the East Coast or paper pusher at a foreign-dominated organization like the World Health Organization.”