Top Business Stories: OK Defends TACOM, Hispanic Chamber To Relocate, Energy Antitrust Update

Jul 14, 2014

T.J. Coley, with the Choctaw Fire Department, checks the engine on a firetruck. The truck was a surplus from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
Credit Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

Oklahoma’s Rural Firefighters Can Keep Using Surplus Equipment.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently warned that it was going to prevent the Department of Defense from giving surplus equipment to the departments, saying much of the equipment fails to comply with EPA standards.

For many years the forestry services division at the state Department of Agriculture has received as much as $15 million worth of vehicles annually to help fight rural fires. The purchased and borrowed equipment has been possible through the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command, or TACOM.

This reversal by the EPA allows firefighters to continue refurbishing the vehicles for fighting wildfires or transporting heavy equipment.

Mark Goeller, from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, was not completely satisfied with the deal which now requires agencies to give the vehicles back to the military when they are no longer in use. Previously, the local agencies could sell them at auction.

Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce CEO and President David Castillo
Credit Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

The Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce Is Raising Money For A New Home.

The group, which has more than 400 members, currently has offices at Walker Square. Metro Technology Centers provides the space in exchange for event sponsorships. But Metro Tech is moving out, so the chamber wants to finally own its own building.

It wants to buy a 3,000-square-foot building on south Western Avenue.

It needs $300,000 and has already collected $46,000.

CEO and President David Castillo said he needs at least $10,000 more by the end of the month.

The office will be near the Business Improvement District the Chamber hopes to create between Shields and May on Southwest 29th Street.

Chesapeake Energy
Credit Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

A Judge In Michigan Has Dropped Two Antitrust Charges Against Chesapeake Energy.

The state had charged the Oklahoma City company with three counts related to an alleged conspiracy with Encana Oil and Gas to lower lease prices.

Cheboygan County District Court Judge Maria I. Barton said that emails between the companies’ executives may show that a bid-rigging scheme was discussed, but there wasn’t enough evidence for a conviction.

She said a conspiracy charge can only succeed if people act on a plan.

Chesapeake still faces a charge that it restrained commerce or trade in Michigan.

No date has been set for the trial.

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