U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, introduced a bill Wednesday to help streamline the Bureau of Reclamation’s environmental planning and study process for new surface water storage projects.
The goal would be for the bureau to use the same streamlined water project development process used by the Army Corps of Engineers under the Water Resources Reform Development Act of 2014. That could facilitate the construction of new dams and reservoirs.
“The current water shortage crisis devastating much of the West highlights the critical need for water supply to grow with demand,” said Newhouse, a hops farmer. “A streamlined process for new water storage projects is vital to prepare effectively for drought and to provide adequate water resources for future development. This bill allows forward-thinking improvements to the Bureau of Reclamation’s permitting process to create new opportunities for water storage.”
The bill is called H.R. 2097, the Bureau of Reclamation Surface Water Storage Streamlining Act of 2015.
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Others who introduced the bill were Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Tom McClintock, R-Calif.