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Sen. Jim Inhofe’s wish list tops $600M

BY CHRIS CASTEEL Modified: May 3, 2010 at 5:55 am •  Published: May 3, 2010
WASHINGTON — Amid efforts in Congress to scale back on earmarks, Sen. Jim Inhofe is requesting more than $615 million in special projects, with about two-thirds of that for defense contractors and military bases.

Inhofe’s requests run the gamut from $100 million for missile defense research to $150,000 for the sheriff’s office in Rogers County. The senator’s lengthy list — about 135 different projects in all areas of government — was submitted in a year when House Republicans have pledged not to request any earmarks and House Democrats have sworn off earmarks for private companies.

Because of the House GOP ban and the fact that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, does not request earmarks, only Inhofe and Rep. Dan Boren in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation are requesting projects this year.

Combined, Boren, D-Muskogee, and Inhofe, R-Tulsa, are asking for more than $1 billion in earmarks. There is some overlap — projects being requested by both — most notably for improvements to the Army ammunition depot in Boren’s district.

But spokesmen for the lawmakers said neither is trying to cover for the Oklahoma Republicans who agreed to refrain from requesting earmarks.

"We did not work with any of the House members to make up for their moratorium,” said Jared Young, Inhofe’s press secretary. "These requests are based on items brought to Senator Inhofe’s attention that went through our vetting process.”

As in previous years, the majority of the projects requested are linked to registered lobbyists in Washington. The same is true of the public and private schools on Inhofe’s list and most of the cities for which water and road projects were requested.

Inhofe has defended earmarks and criticized the decision by House Republicans to forgo the congressionally-directed projects. Inhofe has said that banning earmarks won’t save money and will give more power to President Barack Obama’s administration to determine which projects are funded.

Though congressional Democrats still are seeking home-state projects, House Democrats have sworn off earmark requests for private companies.

Of Inhofe’s requests, about $503 million is targeted for defense contractors — many of them private — or for military-related purposes.

The biggest item is $100 million for the Boeing Co.

Earmark requests
Here are samples of the earmark requests made by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, in the various government areas:

Health and Human Services-education

• $2 million for University of Oklahoma toward construction of new research lab for the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center

• $2 million for Jenks Public Schools to install software and thermostats to reduce energy costs

• $1 million for Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City for imaging equipment

• $1 million for Tulsa Public Schools for leadership training

Justice Department

• $1.5 million for Oklahoma Department of Public Safety for communications system

• $150,000 for Rogers County sheriff’s office for patrol car laptop computers


• $7 million for ICx Nomadics in Stillwater for explosive detector

• $6.5 million for LaBarge in Tulsa for development and testing of Joint Stand-Off Weapon

• $4 million for Veracity Technology Solutions in Tulsa for a system to detect composite defects in aircraft

• $5 million for TGV rockets in Norman for liquid propulsion technology

• $9 million for Orthocare Innovations Foundation to improve amputee patient care

• $12 million for Sciperio in Oklahoma City for Unmanned Aerial Systems

Military construction

• $20.2 million for Vance Air Force Base in Enid to improve pilot training facilities

• $10 million for air traffic control tower at Tinker Air Force Base

• $16 million for a fire station at Altus Air Force Base

• $11.6 million for aircraft parking apron at Fort Sill

Homeland security

• $1 million for Oklahoma City Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism for training law enforcement agencies

Transportation and housing

• $700,000 for Ardmore Development Authority for technology park and industrial airpark

• $1 million for city of Norman for compressed natural gas station

• $1 million for Oklahoma City for Interstate 40 realignment

Financial services

• $500,000 for Seminole State College for business recruitment services


• $575,000 to Oklahoma State University for animal waste management research

• $900,000 to Redlands Community College for building renovation

Energy and water

• $2.3 million to Oklahoma Water Resources Board and Army Corps of Engineers for comprehensive water plan

• $1 million for Woodward Industrial Foundation to expand renewable energy center at Northwestern Oklahoma State University

• $20.5 million to Army Corps of Engineers for McClellan-Kerr Navigation System


• $1.6 million to city of Chickasha to widen a creek for flood relief

• $1.5 million to city of Wewoka to upgrade wastewater treatment plant


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