Congressman Valadao Fights for Water for the Valley
Stressed the Dire Need for Action on Water on House Floor
Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) spoke on the House Floor during amendment debate on the Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Package. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Valadao offered his three amendments during the committee’s markup of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, where the majority rejected all three.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) spoke on the House Floor during amendment debate on the Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Package. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Valadao offered his three amendments during the committee’s markup of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, where the majority rejected all three. He also spoke in front of the Rules Committee, highlighting the importance and urgency of these amendments.
“We can’t produce more water, but we can work with the water we already have and apply commonsense solutions to make this water available to our agriculture communities,” said Rep. Valadao. “We need to stop playing politics with a resource that the Central Valley is so reliant on.”
Congressman Valadao’s amendments, if made in order, would have extended storage provisions of Subtitle J of the WIIN Act, established a program to repair canal conveyance, codified the 2019 Biological Opinions (BiOps), withheld funding for the reinitiation of consultation on the BiOps, and required the Bureau of Reclamation provide the Appropriations Committee with written justification for reinitiating consultation of the 2019 BiOps. Read more about Congressman Valadao’s amendments here.
Watch his remarks here
Remarks as prepared:
Thank you also for allowing me time to talk about the importance of the three amendments I submitted to this bill, that unfortunately we won’t be voting on today.
The severe drought throughout the American West has been negatively impacting my constituents and local community for years.
In the Central Valley, our farmers have had to turn to pumping groundwater to protect their high value crops. Towns have been forced to pump more and more groundwater to meet their community’s needs. As a result, these communities have experienced land subsidence at the expense of critical water infrastructure.
In the worst cases, farmers are forced to fallow their fields and dry out valuable orchards due to access to little or no water.
My constituents are the farmers that feed the world, and with record high food prices, the inability for our domestic farmers to grow food is going to impact the entire country.
The situation is dire, and only getting worse.
We can’t produce more water, but we can work with the water we already have and apply commonsense solutions to make this water available to our agriculture communities.
My first amendment would have addressed water storage capacity issues by extending the storage provision of Subtitle J of the WIIN Act. It would have also created a program to assist in funding the repairs to damaged canal facilities.
Unless these canals are completely restored, the issue of subsidence – and resulting unnecessary water loss – will continue, and conditions will worsen.
My second amendment would codify the 2019 Biological Opinions that were independently peer-reviewed and informed by the most accurate, best available science.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s Bureau of Reclamation has ignored science and reinitiated consultation of these BiOps with no explanation. Codifying the 2019 BiOps would put an end to senseless litigation and provide operational certainty for Valley farmers.
My third amendment was one focused on transparency, and would direct the bureau of reclamation to provide the appropriations committee with a justification on their decision to reinitiate consultation of the 2019 biological opinions.
We need to stop playing politics with a resource that the Central Valley is so reliant on.
It is extremely disappointing that the majority rejected each one of these amendments that would bring more water to the communities throughout the Central Valley who are doing everything they possibly can to survive these conditions and provide food for the nation.
Thank you and I yield back.