House Passes Gosar Amendments Supporting Increased Water Storage, Western Drought Solutions
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after successfully passing amendments on the House floor that protect and promote critical water infrastructure, thereby attaching them to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016:
The first of these three amendments, the Gosar-Newhouse amendment, targeted at supporting water storage projects would prevent any appropriations from being used to remove any federally-owned or operated dams. Congressman Gosar was joined by Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-4) in introducing this amendment.
“In recent years, extremist environmental groups have increased efforts to dismantle and remove federal dams. These efforts defy commonsense, particularly at a time of major water challenges across the West and with an increasing need for clean, renewable hydropower. Many of these dams are essential components for flood control, strategic water storage, and life-sustaining irrigation for millions of acres of American agriculture. Tens of millions of Americans rely on these dams to supply their drinking water and support their livelihoods. The vital water, energy, economic, and ecological benefits provided by federally-owned and operated dams must be protected.”
Upon passage of the amendment, Congressman Dan Newhouse stated, “Federal dams are a vital component of the water infrastructure in the West, and they play a pivotal role in water storage, irrigation, and flood control. Federal dams help ensure access to clean water supplies for many rural and agricultural communities in the West – providing critically important irrigation for countless agriculture operations and millions of acres of farmland. At a time when much of the West is facing a possible 100-year drought, removing these dams would have a devastating impact. This commonsense amendment will help ensure states like Washington are not additionally burdened when contending with mounting water shortages and drastic drought conditions.”
The other two Gosar amendments include transferring appropriations from DOE’s slush fund to the Corps of Engineers (Corps) Construction and Investigations budget for the purposes of reducing the large backlog of Army Corps of Engineers' projects:
“There is a large backlog of worthwhile Corps’ projects throughout the country that are important to improving infrastructure for communities, improving ecosystem restoration, providing clean water and expanding much needed water storage. These projects are especially critical to the drought stricken communities in the West and many other parts of the nation.
“Furthermore, at a time of historic drought and major water challenges, we shouldn’t be taking dollars from worthwhile Corp’s projects to fund bureaucrats within the mismanaged DOE. My amendments correct this occurrence and ensure the timely development of critical water projects that will provide benefits for communities throughout the nation.”
In total, the House passed five Gosar amendments that were ultimately attached to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016. Summaries and full text of the additional two amendments can be found HERE.