House Democrats on Friday cleared the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” (IRA), delivering on a key campaign promise of Joe Biden’s presidency. The House voted 220-207, with no Republicans joining Democrats in supporting the act.
Senate Democrats passed the bill five days earlier along party lines, by a 51-50 margin, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-ARIZONA) was a key vote in the Senate, where she and other Western Senators helped secure $4 billion of funding intended to address the Western drought crisis.
A one-page summary of The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is available online.
WESTERN DROUGHT PROVISIONS
The Family Farm Alliance was part of a coalition of Western agriculture and water organizations that urged Colorado River Basin Senators to include funding to address the drought in legislation aimed at addressing climate change.
“Failing to address these critically important water challenges in any reconciliation package or other legislative vehicle will be a missed opportunity, and in a year where the impacts of drought are being so acutely felt, citizens across the West would view this as a glaring omission,” the coalition wrote in its letter.
The Western drought provisions that ended up in the IRA appear to place priority on the Colorado River. In short, the $4 billion of new funding will: 1) Help fund conservation projects to increase water level of water in Colorado River system reservoirs; 2) Compensate water users for reducing water use (through temporary or multi-year agreements); and 3) Help mitigate effects of drought by funding environmental restoration projects, including inland waterways (like the Salton Sea).
ALLIANCE MEDIA COVERAGE
Alliance directors and contractors were featured in media coverage of the drought provisions.
Mark Limbaugh (The Ferguson Group – which represents the Alliance in Washington, D.C.) was quoted in this story published by Circle of Blue, which delves into the details of how the $4 billion in Western drought relief might be spent.
Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen (OREGON) was quoted in a Desert Sun news story addressing the $4 billion drought provisions.
The Arizona Republic
, a USA Today
publication, recently published this editorial column
by Joanna Allhands, who notes that nearly two-thirds of our fruits and vegetables come from states where water is becoming increasingly scarce. “How will that affect the nation’s food supply?” she asks.
Ms. Allhands’ opinion piece was published as the Western drought language was being negotiated by Senate leaders. It does a nice job of addressing how funding could be used to support irrigators at a time when multiple factors are contributing to the higher prices and intermittent product shortages we see in grocery stores now.
Family Farm Alliance Director Paul Orme (ARIZONA) and our good friend Mike Wade at the California Farm Water Coalition are both cited in the article.
Mr. Orme has also been invited by Senator Sinema to join her new Water Advisory Council, the aim of which is to meet regularly to provide actionable legislative concepts, ideas for sustained engagement with the Biden Administration on actions to address drought, and how the Arizona Congressional Delegation could provide support to Arizona’s efforts.
CALIFORNIA’S GREAT WATER EXPERIMENTS HAVE FAILED. IT’S TIME FOR REAL SOLUTIONS.
Elsewhere, Alliance Director William Bourdeau (CALIFORNIA)– who also sits on the boards of the Westlands Water District and the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority – reminds readers of the San Joaquin Valley Sun that California’s great water experiments have failed, and that it’s time for real solutions, in this guest opinion.
At the Family Farm Alliance, we’ll continue our efforts to educate the public and policy makers, as global realization of the looming food crisis grows every day.