Westlands Statement on Passage of H.R. 2898

Taylor HillmanWater

Water in agriculture
Today’s passage of H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, is a positive step in the enactment of legislation that will bring common sense to supply water and protect listed species. It is welcomed news for Westlands Water District and the entire state.

H.R. 2898 is a product of the efforts of Members of the House and Senate, and it demonstrates that it is possible to advance legislation that can balance the needs of people and the environment. It has been observed by many Members of Congress that government cannot make it rain, but it can ensure that any future rainfall will benefit the interests that need it most–our cities, communities, schools, farms, farm workers, as well as the environment.

Congressman David Valadao is deserving of special thanks for his leadership and direction in introducing this critical piece of legislation. But the passage of this legislation by the House of Representatives was the result of many Members and their staff. Indeed, the entire Central Valley delegation worked together on this common sense legislation. Through the dedicated leadership of Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Tom McClintock, Doug LaMalfa, and Ken Calvert, a solution is within reach to provide relief from the catastrophic effects of chronic water supply shortages that has wreaked havoc on the State of California. In addition, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop’s continued support of this issue along with Speaker John Boehner’s leadership, and years of attention to this matter, are greatly appreciated.

All too often the hours of work put forth by the Congressional staff goes unnoticed. Westlands would like to acknowledge the effort of both the staff at the House Resources Committee and the staff in the personal offices. To be certain, today’s votes would not have been possible without the bipartisan and bicameral cooperation of the staff.

Westlands is encouraged by Senator Dianne Feinstein’s comments made after the passage of the bill. We are hopeful she and members of the Senate will continue their work toward the enactment of meaningful legislation this year that will provide a reasonable balance between operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project to supply water and effective measures to protect at-risk species.

With agricultural production stunted and water for municipal and industrial use severely cut back, Westlands is eager to work with Members of Congress in both Houses of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to restore the water supply for all of California’s interests.