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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Grijalva Amendment to H.R. 2898

July 16, 2015

Congressman McClintock is a co-author of H.R. 2898 (Valadao) the Western Water and American Food Security Act.  The legislation was approved by the House on July 16th, 2015.  The bill next goes to the Senate.  During House floor debate the Congressman spoke in opposition to an amendment offered to the bill by Rep. Grijalva. The amendment was not adopted. The Congressman's House floor debate remarks in support of H.R. 2898 can be found here.

Grijalva Amendment to HR 2898
July 16, 2015

Mr. Speaker:

    I said earlier that this is a time of choosing between two very different visions.  The Democrats offer us a vision of scarcity, of rationing, and of astronomical water prices.  We’ve tried it their way – it doesn’t end well.

    This bill serves a different vision: of abundant water and hydro-electricity at affordable prices – and the prosperity and quality of life that means for every American.

    Water is plentiful, but it is unevenly distributed over time.  We build reservoirs to store water in wet years so we have it in dry ones.  We stopped building major dams (over a million acre feet) nearly 40 years ago because of policies imposed on us by the same voices we now hear raised against this bill. 

    The Sacramento River is bigger than the Colorado.  Yet we store 70 million acre feet on the Colorado and only 10 million acre feet on the Sacramento.  We will not solve our water shortage until we build more dams.  That’s what this bill does.

    This amendment would scrap this vision of abundance for more of the same.  Not more water, just more conservation, more recycling, more doing with less.  

    Conservation is important in a drought – but conservation is the management of a shortage.  Managing a shortage does not solve a shortage.  Only abundance can do that.  

    When we confuse conservation with supply – as these voices from the left always do – in a real drought, we discover that we have already played that card and no longer have it available to us to stretch supplies in dry years.  

    New dams not only assure abundant water for the west.  They provide clean, cheap, reliable hydroelectricity.  They provide flood control to protect regions that would otherwise be inundated and uninhabitable.  They assure year round flows of water to riparian habitats that would otherwise be desiccated by drought and devastated by flood.  All of these benefits would be sacrificed on the altar of the environmental left by this amendment.

    Supply or shortage – that is the question.  Our bill opens a new era of supply.  This amendment takes us further down the road of coping with shortage – not as a temporary stop-gap – but as a way of life.

    We’ve had a taste of that way of life.  We’ve watched our lawns turn brown.  We’ve watched our water bills sky-rocket.  We’ve watched businesses shut down.  We’ve watched thousands of farmworkers thrown into unemployment.  We’ve seen food lines in the most fertile agricultural region of the West.  

    And we have had enough.  

    We seek a new future where water and hydroelectricity are abundant and inexpensive, where jobs are plentiful and the grocery shelves are full, where water police aren’t knocking on the door because we’ve taken too long in the shower, and where our lawns and gardens are green.

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