OTTAWA — U.S. Rep. Bob Latta said Ohio lawmakers still don’t know if they will be able to secure funding for the Blanchard River Flood Reduction Project (BRFRP) for the second half of fiscal year 2013.
The Republican Congressman from Bowling Green visited with constituents in Ottawa on Thursday and also bestowed special honors on the Ottawa-Glandorf Boys Basketball team for its first place finis at state in Division IV. During his visit he said his position remains supportive of the continuation of the flood mitigation project stating it is important to find permanent solutions to the Blanchard River flooding problem.
“Some things have to be done at a national level,” Latta said. “This is one of those projects.”
Although Latta continues to feel there needs to be budget cuts at the federal level to reduce the deficit, he said this is an important project that needs to be included in the budget.
“Unfortunately we are not allowed to do earmarks at the federal level anymore so this could not be earmarked. The Army Corps just prioritizes projects and put in their requests hoping they are included in line items.” Latta said this project was not included in the budget for the second half of 2013.
Latta has joined with U.S. Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in sending a letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, stating their support of funding for the Blanchard River mitigation. The letter said the Army Corps of Engineers has upheld the Blanchard River project as an exceptional national example of the coordination between local communities and the Army Corps.
“We need to get the funding for the final phase of the study done so we can get it to the chief’s level,” Latta said.
While admitting frustration that the U.S. House and Senate are so far apart on their proposed budgets, Latta feels they could use the 2008 budget as a way to reconcile their differences. “If they would go over this budget line by line we could be in good shape and be able to make cuts,” he said.
When questioned about subsidies for alternative energy sources, Latta said he doesn’t want Washington D.C. to pick the winners and losers in energy programs. He said clean coal, natural gas; nuclear energy and alternative energies all play an important part in this county’s energy sources.
“We are on the cusp of an energy revolution,’ Latta said. “By 2020 we will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production. We have the potential to become self reliant.” Latta said this can happen if we don’t over-regulate the energy industries.
“Ohio has good laws and regulations,” Latta said. “But if the Feds get involved it could be a problem.” He said each state is different and felt it was better for the energy industries to be regulated by state regulations, not federal.
“We have the potential to create 3.5 million jobs in the energy industry if we don’t mess it up.” Latta said.