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State Rep. praises permanent restoration of program for Firefighters

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OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mike Sanders announcement from the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency to fully and permanently restore the surplus equipment programs that benefit Oklahoma counties, school districts and rural fire departments.

“This is great news for our rural firefighters who do so much to protect our communities from wildfires and severe weather,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “I knew that when the idea of ending the programs was thrown out, it would be disastrous for our volunteer fire departments. Now that Sen. Inhofe and others have brought the Department of Defense to its senses, fire departments will no longer be in such a bind.”

On July 2, the DOD announced that it would suspend the programs that allowed for the transfer of federal surplus equipment to state and local agencies because the equipment did not meet current emissions regulations set by the EPA. On July 9, the DOD and EPA reached an agreement that would allow local fire and law enforcement agencies to continue receiving the equipment but would require the DOD to retain title of the equipment.

On Wednesday, the DOD announced that it would fully and permanently restore the programs and allow for the state and local agencies to obtain and maintain the titles for the equipment.

Each year, Oklahoma fire departments receive and rely on $13 million to $15 million worth of surplus equipment from the DOD. The cost of the new vehicles falls between $150,000 and $200,000, but the departments are able to take these surplus vehicles and equip them for as low as $30,000.