On Wednesday, the House unanimously passed Rep. Paul ‘s H.R. 660, Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act. The bipartisan bill is expected to increase transparency.
The Act requires the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to do a thorough inventory of its assets as well as prioritize major repairs necessary at the agency’s facilities.
“Since 1902, the Bureau of Reclamation has powered the nation and the world with renewable, emissions-free energy,” said Gosar. “In order to ensure an abundant supply of clean water and power for future generations, we must take the necessary steps to prioritize the agency’s long list of maintenance repairs. This bipartisan legislation is the first step in getting BOR on the right track so that Reclamation can continue to provide essential services that benefit water and power users as well as our nation’s farmers.”
Original cosponsors include Andy Biggs, Trent Franks, Martha McSally, and Kyrsten Sinema.
The bill was approved unanimously by the Senate in the 113th Congress with Senators Barrasso and Schatz ushering passage. The previous administration testified in strong support of the bill last Congress. This Congress, the Trump Administration testified in strong support of the Senate bill which is identical to the House bill. The House bill has 5 Democrat cosponsors and 15 Republican cosponsors. The bill passed the House Committee on Natural Resources by unanimous consent. Senators Barrasso and Schatz are again spearheading the Senate companion and the Senate bill has passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
At Committee hearings on this bill in the 114th and 115th Congresses, an agency official for the Bureau of Reclamation testified that the legislation is consistent with its draft “Infrastructure Investment Strategy.”
The Bureau of Reclamation was established in 1902 and much of the agency’s now aging infrastructure was built more than 50 years ago. 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 476 dams and dikes, and the agency is also responsible for the operations of 53 different hydroelectric power plants.