Senator urges FERC to revisit dam flooding liability

By Zach Bright | 05/10/2024 06:35 AM EDT

Sen. Markwayne Mullin says ratepayers shouldn’t bear costs of flooding in northeastern Oklahoma.

Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.).

Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.). Francis Chung/POLITICO

Republican Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma is pushing federal energy regulators to revise a decision holding the operator of a large dam liable for increases in upstream flooding.

In a letter sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday, Mullin said the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) — an Oklahoma public power utility that runs Pensacola Dam hydroelectric projects — should not be held solely responsible for worsening flooding in Miami, Oklahoma.

The issue involves Pensacola Hydroelectric Project No. 1494, which is located along the Neosho River, southwest of Miami.


Mullin wrote that FERC’s decision to find the power authority responsible for flooding problems “unilaterally upended” federal law and precedent that finds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is primarily responsible for flood control.