Newhouse poses streamlining bill

Bill would make it easier to do water projects

— Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse of Sunnnyside and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) introduced a bill H.R. 4419 yesterday that would streamline the Bureau of Reclamation’s and Bureau of Indian Affairs’ environmental planning and study process for new water projects.

The Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Indian Affairs Water Project Streamlining Act of 2017 would also authorize the next phase of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, Newhouse aid Will Boyington said.

“I am grateful to Speaker Paul Ryan and House Natural Resource Committee Chairman Rob Bishop for working with me and Rep. Dave Reichert to craft this legislation that streamlines the process, Newhouse said.

According to Boyington, the bill would apply the same streamlined water project development process used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Water Resources Reform Development Act of 2014.

The Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs would have to facilitate the construction of new or expanded surface water, storage, infrastructure, and recycling projects.

Boyington said H.R. 4419 broadens the legislation to include additional surface water storage projects, water infrastructure projects, rural water projects, water recycling, and Title XVI water projects.

“Rep. Newhouse has worked hard on this issue and it clearly shows he cares about the people of Washington state,” House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said.

 The legislation authorizes a Phase III of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan. It’s an initiative to better accommodate the water needs of the agricultural community, conservationists, residents, and other stakeholders in the Yakima River Basin region.

“Updating and modernizing our water supply infrastructure is critical to meet the current needs and future growth of communities across the nation,” Newhouse added. “The Yakima Basin Plan is a national model for collaborative water infrastructure planning.”

After years of discussion with local stakeholders, Boyington said Newhouse is proud that House members have finally come together on a forward-thinking plan that will work to protect the future economic health of the Yakima Basin and the surrounding regions.

“It does so by providing the water needed for our agricultural, irrigation, environmental, and tribal interests; local businesses; and communities to thrive,” Reichert said.

“There is more work to be done to perfect this plan,” he added. “I am committed to achieving a final product that will give agricultural producers the confidence they need to continue operating and expanding in the area, while also addressing the concerns of conservationists and local residents.”

Boyington said Reichert is looking forward to continued work with Newhouse and the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan to move this legislation through Congress and to the President’s desk.”


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