Senator Mark Allen, R- Spiro, today announced an Energy & Natural Resources Summit specifically addressing eastern and southeastern Oklahoma will be held on Tuesday, January 27 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Poteau, Oklahoma from 9AM to noon.
Local Senators and members of the House and Senate rural caucuses have been invited to participate, in addition to representatives from the Department of Commerce, Tourism, Corporation Commission, Department of Mines, Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Department of Transportation, Agriculture, and the Oklahoma State Chamber.
“Our goal is to bring people together from across the state and specifically, our region, to discuss, evaluate and unlock the economic potential of our energy and natural resources,” Allen said. “We’ll take a closer look at how resources like coal reserves, natural gas and methane, water, algae and biofuels as well as associated bi-products can be tapped to create new job prospects and growth for the eastern corridor of Oklahoma. Agriculture, tourism, railways, trucking, as well as waterway and air transports can also significantly foster development for our region, so we are looking forward to exploring those opportunities as well.”
Allen also extended his invitation to representatives from companies that are actively recovering and utilizing Oklahoma natural resources to give a brief summary of their industry, in order to help the panel better understand what the state can do to help maintain jobs already created, and to determine if there is potential in creating new products and additional employment opportunities.
“This summit gives our region the ability to take a good look at and evaluate ourselves in developing our natural resources and improving our overall economic conditions. It also sends a message to state leaders that we’re working hard in eastern Oklahoma to improve our quality of life and create a better future for our children,” Allen said.
Eastern Oklahoma has seen some of the highest unemployment numbers in the state in recent years due to the closing of the Bremner plant in Poteau and the Whirlpool plant in nearby Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Combined, these two closings resulted in over 1,000 lost jobs for southeastern Oklahoma and the surrounding communities.
“Employment numbers have improved, but now is the time for eastern Oklahoma to take a greater look at our untapped natural resources,” Allen said. “We as state leaders must do everything possible to assist these industries that have made an investment in Oklahoma.”
For more information on the summit, please contact Senator Mark Allen or his assistant Grace McMillan at 405-521-5576 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.