A large group of agricultural and water organizations representing thousands of Western farmers, ranchers and businesses are calling on Congress to consider water issues in the next infrastructure package. More than 100 agricultural and water organizations, including Western Growers, California Farm Bureau Federation, and Western Agricultural Processors Association, took part in sending a letter addressed to members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“As Congress is debating an infrastructure package, we wanted to make absolutely sure that water supplies and the need to enhance water supply, water projects, water infrastructure was also on Congress’ radar, not just roads and bridges,” said Vice President of Federal Affairs with Western Growers Dennis Nuxoll. “We hope that that gives a big statement and really puts it to the front burner as Congress is undertaking these deliberations.”
The letter expressed encouragement based on some of the statements made by lawmakers that water would be considered in any infrastructure plans being made. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Peter DeFazio have both expressed levels of support for developing a sizable infrastructure package that would not only help urban areas but rural areas as well.
Along with requesting federal support for water infrastructure projects to improve things like water conservation and water storage, the group is seeking a more streamlined environmental regulating and permitting process. “As we are thinking about a large infrastructure package for roads and bridges there will be environmental streamlining language, environmental permitting language that makes it more efficient, so it doesn’t take forever to do the project. We want that same sort of philosophy, that same sort of environmental process streamlining, efficiency, etcetera, that is no doubt going to be part of the roads and bridge package to be reflected when they’re doing water projects,” said Nuxoll.
Listen to the interview below.