Association Manager Tom Davis Testifies Before Congress

Association Manager Tom Davis Testifies Before Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans held a legislative hearing on the Congressman’s bill, H.R. 1107, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) Transparency Act:

“For over a century, BOR has transformed the West into a powerhouse that feeds the nation and millions around the world while providing renewable, emissions-free energy for millions. Important projects, such as the Central Arizona Project in my home state, have successfully resulted in proper management of vital water resources.

“To ensure this continues, it is necessary for Congress to be vigilant and provide proper oversight of BOR operations requiring this agency to make public the estimated cost of repairs for Reclamation facilities. For years, Congress and many water users asked for such information, only to be rebuffed time and again. Increasing accountability at BOR will empower states, localities and water and power users to make informed decisions on aging infrastructure, much of which is 50 years or older.

“The American public has asked for and deserves laws that reflect the needs of this century.  Letting the sunlight in on government is one of those important needs.”

Tom W. Davis, General Manager of the Yuma County Water Users’ Association, testified before the subcommittee stating, “The Yuma County Water Users’ Association supports H.R. 1107. An important step in addressing any problem is gaining an understanding of its scope and nature. Congressman Gosar’s bill increases transparency by providing a better understanding of the major replacement and rehabilitation needs of Bureau of Reclamation’s infrastructure assets.  This legislation directs the agency to streamline and consolidate multiple reports in order to facilitate better management of the agency’s infrastructure.”

Estevan López, Commissioner at the Bureau of Reclamation, testified before the subcommittee stating: “The Department supports HR 1107…Reclamation appreciates the constructive work conducted with the sponsor’s offices and this Subcommittee to develop a number of specific changes to the bill consistent with our 2014 testimony…These changes were all incorporated into the current version of HR 1107.  Reclamation recognizes the value in obtaining additional information on the status of our infrastructure.”

Background

The full text of Tom W. Davis’ testimony can be found HERE.

The full text of the Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act can be found HERE.

The Senate unanimously approved this bipartisan bill during the 113th Congress, with Senators Barrasso and Schatz ushering its passage.

BOR provides essential services that benefit water and power users as well as our nation’s farmers. The agency delivers water to more than 30 million people and provides one in five Western farmers with water to irrigate their crops. BOR’s assets include more than 475 dams and dikes, and the agency is also responsible for the operations of 53 different hydroelectric power plants.

The bill  has 22  bipartisan cosponsors including: Representatives Mark Amodei, Joe Barton, Matt Cartwright, Mike Coffman, Jeff Denham, Trent Franks, John Garamendi, Crescent Hardy, Joe Heck, Jared Huffman, Ann Kirkpatrick, Ted Lieu, Cynthia Lummis, Tom McClintock, Martha McSally, Jeff Miller, Grace Napolitano, Steve Pearce, Matt Salmon, Kyrsten Sinema, Scott Tipton and Ryan Zinke.

The Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act would force the BOR to do an Infrastructure Needs Assessment Report every two years as part of the BOR’s existing Asset Management Plan reporting process. This Infrastructure Needs Assessment Report would be available to the public on BOR’s webpage. The report would include:

1)     An itemized list of major repair and rehabilitation needs at all federally managed BOR facilities and projects.

2)     A cost estimate of the expenditures needed to address those repairs.

3)     A categorical safety rating, using BOR’s own existing categorical system, of the importance of addressing each item.

 

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