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Committee Advances Slate of Bills to Boost Water and Power Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2017 -

Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed a slate of bills to expand and improve our nation’s water and power infrastructure. The bills represent one segment of the Committee’s contributions to broader infrastructure legislation being developed in the House and Senate.

H.R. 1967 (Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-CO), the “Bureau of Reclamation Pumped Storage Hydropower Development Act,” streamlines the permitting of non-federal pumped storage hydroelectric projects at certain Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) facilities. The bill passed without opposition.

This bill is intended to clear up confusion about regulatory permitting at existing Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs. By eliminating potentially duplicative regulations, this clarification will help pave the way for more pumped storage. Together with other bills from the Water, Power, and Oceans subcommittee, this bill is an important first step to improve our nation’s infrastructure and to advance an “all-of-the-above” energy and water strategy,” Lamborn said.

H.R. 1654 (Rep. Tom McClintock, R-CA), the “Water Supply Permitting Coordination Act,” creates a “one-stop-shop” permitting process through the BOR for new or expanded non-federal surface storage facilitates, reducing conflicting agency permit requirements that impose unnecessary costs and burdens on project applicants. The bill passed by a vote of 24-16.  

H.R. 1654 establishes a framework in which federal agencies with permitting responsibilities for the construction of new surface water storage projects must work together, coordinate their schedules, share data and technical materials, and make their findings publicly available. The end result would be fewer delays, more efficient use of taxpayer dollars and ultimately, more abundant water supplies,” McClintock stated.

H.R. 660 (Rep. Paul Gosar, R-AZ), the “Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act,” requires the Secretary of the Interior to publish reports detailing rehabilitation needs at their facilities, which provide vital irrigation water for Western famers and the nation’s fruit and vegetable crops. The bill passed without opposition

For too long, federal agencies like the Bureau of Reclamation have not been held accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars. This lack of oversight has proven to be a recipe for rampant waste, fraud and abuse. My bipartisan bill will require a cost estimate and a detailed list of major repairs for BOR facilities and allow for meaningful steps to be taken to address the maintenance backlog. This transparency will ensure an abundant supply of clean water and power for future generations,” Gosar said.

H.R. 220 (Rep. Don Young, R-AK), authorizes the expansion of the Terror Lake hydroelectric project to meet electricity demand for the Kodiak Island community. The bill passed without opposition.

There’s no reason why a hydro-rich community like Kodiak should ever have to rely on diesel fuel for power generation. With the enactment of my legislation, which will expedite the much needed expansion of the Terror Lake hydroelectric project, I believe we can meet the needs of Kodiak for years to come. Alaska has tremendous hydroelectric potential and I look forward to moving additional commonsense reforms to provide our rural and remote communities with new opportunities to obtain reliable and affordable energy,” Young said.

H.R. 497 (Rep. Paul Cook, R-CA), the “Santa Ana River Wash Plan Land Exchange Act,” exchanges Bureau of Land Management land within the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District to expand existing mining operations, establish protected habitat for threatened and endangered species and facilitate locally supported land management agreements. The bill passed without opposition.

The Wash Plan Land Swap will allow for the expansion of existing aggregate mining operations to support infrastructure, protect water recharge in the wash, and manage critical habitat for threatened and endangered plants and animals. I want to thank Chairman Bishop and the members of the Committee for moving this important legislation forward and my co-sponsor Rep. Aguilar for his help on this bipartisan issue. I look forward to seeing the bill passed by the full House of Representatives,” Cook stated.

H.R. 1807 (Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX), the “Public Water Supple Invasive Species Compliance Act of 2017,” exempts water transfers between the States of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana from Lacey Act restrictions that can lead to unwarranted water supply disruptions. The bill passed by a vote of 19-17.

Federal laws that are having a devastating effect on our essential water supply in Texas are in desperate need of modernization. Otherwise, those laws will inflict unnecessary interruptions of water supplies through interstate transfers between Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Provisions of the Lacey Act intended to prevent the spread of harmful ‘invasive species’ from one state to another will ultimately prevent water in lakes that run along state borders from being used at all when an invasive species is found. That is an outrageous result, but that is why the House and Senate must act quickly,” Gohmert said.

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Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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