Western Growers Urges Senate Action On Western Water Bill
Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif has released a statement urging the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to act on Western drought legislation prior to the Thanksgiving recess:
“We join forces with more than 100 regional and state organizations – representing the spectrum of agricultural and urban and rural water users in the West – in calling for immediate Senate action on legislation aimed at alleviating the short- and long-term impacts of the drought gripping the Western states. While we are encouraged by several Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearings during the year, bill mark-up must occur before the Thanksgiving recess if any meaningful legislation is to be passed and signed into law before the end of the year.
As part of a broader package benefiting the Western states, we want to bring attention to several requirements for California that must be included in the final bill. First, operational restrictions applied to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumping plants must be loosened, within the limits of the Endangered Species Act rules, to allow more available water to reach family farms and the communities dependent on these businesses. This is time sensitive: With an average or wet winter predicted for California, this provision must be in place in time to prevent flood waters being wastefully directed out to sea. Secondly, excessive red-tape that prevents Western states from building additional surface water storage, including exhaustively-studied dams and reservoirs in California, must be cut and the process streamlined. Finally, this legislation must provide the federal government with greater flexibility in the funding of water infrastructure projects.
With multiple bills on the Western drought already introduced, the framework is in place to advance compromise legislation that addresses the needs of both agriculture and the environment. All that is left is for our elected leaders to take decisive action to ensure the future viability and prosperity of the West.”