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Committee Hears Testimony on Bipartisan Fish Predation and Transparency Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 20, 2016 -

Today, the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans held a legislative hearing on three bills: H.R. 1869, “Environmental Compliance Cost Transparency Act of 2015,” H.R. 2993, “Water Recycling Acceleration Act of 2015,” and H.R. 4582, “Save Our Salmon (SOS) Act."

H.R. 1869 (Rep. Paul Gosar, R-AZ) provides more transparency and reporting related to environmental costs incurred by the federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs). Rep. Gosar explained what the legislation aims to accomplish.

 “My bipartisan bill requires the PMAs to provide these costs on a monthly basis to their customers. It does not repeal or change any environmental laws; it simply requires transparency and helps those who are paying the bills to better understand what they are actually paying for,” Rep. Gosar said.

Witness Patrick Ledger, CEO of Arizona G&T Cooperatives, and Oregon witness Bo Downen, Senior Policy Analyst of Public Power Council, pointed to the reasons for Rep. Gosar’s bill.

“While many of the dedicated personnel at [the Western Area Power Administration] are willing to share anecdotal information on how environmental compliance affects hydropower generation, the precise cost break down is missing from the public domain,” Ledger said.

 “Support for this bill should not depend upon whether you believe these expenditures in the name of fish and wildlife should be lower, higher, or are just about right. The issue here is information,” Downen stated.

H.R. 4582 (Rep. Jeff Denham, R-CA) excludes striped bass from the anadromous fish doubling requirement in the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. Tom Iseman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), voiced DOI’s support for the “Save Our Salmon Act,” with minor amendments.

“The Department has no concern with the removal of striped bass from the CVPIA’s fish doubling goals,” Iseman said.

California witness Charles Hanson, Senior Fishery Biologist of Hanson Environmental, Inc. and Rep. Denham both commented on the bill.

 “Increasing the population of non-native species that prey on protected species is counter-productive to species recovery efforts currently underway in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and surrounding watershed,” Hanson stated.

“Over the past year, a recurring theme in hearings is that predation is a key stressor in efforts to protect fish listed under the Endangered Species Act, especially in California. This bill eliminates a provision that protects non-invasive striped bass to help native salmon. I am grateful for the bipartisan support and local interest that is growing behind my common sense bill,” Rep. Denham said.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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