The “Latest on the Drought” from Congressman Cook

Last Friday, Congressman Paul Cook voted for H.R. 2028, the 2016 energy and Water funding bill. Included in this bill were two provisions offering relief from the worst California drought in a century.

“The first provision, offered by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), instructs the Bureau of Reclamation to finish and submit studies for three dam expansion projects and two dam creation proposals within the state. Congress authorized each of the five studies over a decade ago. This specific provision sets in place hard deadlines and forbids the agency from continuing to stall on these critical decisions.

The second provision, offered by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) prohibits taxpayer dollars from being sued to purchase water for the sole purpose of releasing it for environmental purposes. Under current law, federal agencies purchase extremely expensive water in order to dump it into rivers and streams for minor temperature adjustments for fish.

Cook said, “California is facing the worst drought in a century. It’s inexcusable that the Bureau of Reclamation continues to drag its feet on new water storage projects to help capture rain and snow melt and relieve the drought. After years of inaction it’s past time to complete these vital projects to increase our water storage capacity. In drought-stricken California, humans are the endangered species, and we have more important uses for our water than providing heating and cooling for fish.”

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