The Family Farm Alliance in the past week transmitted the following support letters to Congress on three important bills:
1. A letter urging the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to hold a hearing and advance the Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program Authorization Act (S. 4530), to establish an airborne snow observatory (ASO) and measurement program within the Department of the Interior. The legislation would create a federal unified program for mountain snowpack readings and ensure that the most proven snowpack measurement methods, like ASO, continue to receive federal investment. The establishment of this program will help water managers and users with water conservation, supply, and delivery forecasts across the West. A similar letter was sent to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
2. A letter to the House Natural Resources Committee in support of the WIFIA Improvement Act (H.R. 8217), to amend the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (WIFIA). This bill would provide a new 55-year loan term for WIFIA financing and clarify that WIFIA financing may be used for works that were constructed by the federal government, through agencies such as the Bureau of Reclamation, but have been contractually transferred to be operated and maintained by a local non-federal agency (transferred works).
3. A letter to Rep. Garret Graves (R-LOUISIANA) in support the Building U.S. Infrastructure through Limited Delays & Efficient Reviews (BUILDER) Act of 2020, which would amend the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) to facilitate a more efficient, effective, and timely environmental review process, among other things. The often slow and cumbersome federal regulatory process is a major obstacle to realization of projects and actions that could enhance Western water supplies. Several sections of this bill align with and reinforce changes made in the White House Council of Environmental Quality NEPA rule – finalized in July 2020 – which the Family Farm Alliance strongly supports. These provisions would help modernize the federal environmental review process, which will improve the public process for Western water resource development and management.
The Family Farm Alliance will continue to support Congressional water and environmental legislation that is consistent with the organization’s priorities and policy positions.