House Passes Proactive Solution to Assist Western States with Crippling Drought Conditions

Jul 16, 2015 Issues: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Energy, Public Lands and Water

For Immediate Release

Date: July 16, 2015

Contact: Steven D. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House passed by a bipartisan vote of 245-176, H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, which would increase vital water storage, modernize the permitting process for water projects, assist with lowering food costs and protect state water rights from federal water grabs:

“American families, small businesses and farmers are hurting in the West and desperately need relief from crippling drought conditions. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has exacerbated that pain throughout Western states by putting the demands of extremist special interest groups ahead of hard-working American families. This has had a dramatic impact: killing thousands of jobs, harming our food supply and leading to unemployment levels as high as 40% in some communities.

“The bipartisan action taken in the House today will help ensure a reliable water supply for our citizens and nation’s agriculture producers. H.R. 2898 is a balanced approach for combating drought conditions in the West that protects private water rights and prohibits federal water grabs. Furthermore, this commonsense legislation streamlines the federal permitting process, increases water storage capacity and will assist with lowering food costs. As Vice-Chairman of the Natural Resources Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee, I am proud the House took action today to prevent future water crises and prioritize the interests of the American people over the special interests of extremist environmental groups.”

Congressman Gosar, a cosponsor of H.R. 2898, delivered a speech on the House floor this morning in support of the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015. You can watch the video by clicking the picture below:


From the House Natural Resources Committee: Based on previous legislative efforts that were initially developed on a bipartisan and bicameral basis, the “Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015” addresses the underlying policy failures that are contributing to increasingly severe drought conditions in communities in California and across the Western United States. 

Improving Science and Transparency: Requires federal and state agencies to use the most updated available science in water management decisions and to allow the public to access such data, delivering improved habitat conditions for species without adversely affecting millions of people.

Expanding Infrastructure: Enacts “one-stop-shop” permitting reforms aimed at building infrastructure to capture more water. 

Expanding Storage: Requires the federal government to expedite and complete consideration of feasibility studies for water storage projects that have been languishing in bureaucratic purgatory for over ten years. 

Regulatory Common Sense: Requires federal agencies to consider other less water-costly alternatives that would benefit the listed species, such as installing temporary barriers to prevent saltwater intrusion or removing non-native predator fish that eat protected species. 

Emergency Drought Response: Provides federal agencies the operational flexibility during times of crises to effectively make and implement operational decisions in real time without unnecessary regulatory hurdles. 

Water Rights Protection: Prevents federal agencies from requiring certain entities to relinquish their water rights to the United States in order to use public lands.