Provisions would improve state-federal drought collaboration and enable reservoirs to store more water
Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today applauded the Senate’s unanimous approval of a package of amendments to a water infrastructure bill that included two provisions sought by the Senator, including one of Arizona’s major legislative priorities for combatting drought.
One of Flake’s provisions would remove the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the lead agency for developing federal drought guidelines and replace it with the Department of the Interior (DOI), an agency that has demonstrated a willingness to collaborate with Western states on water policy. In addition, the measure now includes language reflecting Flake’s critical provisions that would update federal water management policy in an effort to free drought-stricken Western states to store more water in hydropower reservoirs.
“Victories such as this have Arizona’s drought priorities gaining traction in the Senate,” said Flake. “Western states will be well served when Congress gets the EPA out of drought planning in favor of a better qualified and more collaborative federal agency. I’m also encouraged to see continued support for our bipartisan solution that should allow Western states to safely store greater volumes of desperately-needed water in existing reservoirs.”
- On July 19, Flake secured a significant victory for Arizona when he received the DOI’s commitment to honor and protect Arizona’s water in Lake Mead, ending the immediate threat of Arizona losing any of that water to another state. The DOI’s written commitment to Flake can be viewed here.
- On July 13, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Flake’s Western Water Supply and Planning Enhancement Act (S. 2902), legislation to combat the Western drought. The legislation, introduced with U.S. Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) provides forward-looking measures to help drought-stricken states make better use of existing water infrastructure, increase conservation efforts, and protect state-issued water rights. For more information, click here.
- On January 28, Flake introduced an amendment that was adopted into the 2016 Energy Policy Modernization Act with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Risch to expand water storage in hydropower reservoirs.
- Also approved in the September 13 amendment package was a Flake-cosponsored measure introduced by McCain directing a study by the National Academy of Sciences and an implementation plan by the DOI on how to best control water-intensive invasive species like tamarisk, also known as salt cedar.
Source: Senator Jeff Flake