Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

H.R. 2898 – California Water Bill Passes House

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.  Congressman McClintock delivered the following remarks in support of H.R. 2898 during House floor debate, and he also spoke in opposition to an amendment offered by Rep. Grijalva.

H.R. 2898 – California Water Bill
July 16, 2015

Mr. Speaker:

    Droughts are nature’s fault.  Water shortages are OUR fault -- a deliberate choice we made nearly 40 years ago when we stopped building new dams.  We haven’t added a major reservoir in California since 1979; while the population of our state has nearly doubled.  

    Even before the drought, leftist policies created severe water shortages in California’s Central Valley, devastating the economy and creating the spectacle of food lines in one of the most fertile agricultural regions of our nation.

    For four years, the House passed comprehensive legislation to resolve this crisis before it became a crisis.  For four years Senate Democrats blocked it.  But the public has now awakened and the Senate has changed.  

    The voices we hear in opposition are the same voices that have dominated western water policy these past 40 years.  We now know where that leads.  This bill doesn’t pre-empt California water law, it protects it by forbidding state officials from fulfilling their threats to violate it.  It comes at the request of local water agencies that are sick and tired of having their water expropriated by environmental zealots.  

    It is time to choose between two very different visions of water policy.

    One is the nihilistic vision of the environmental left: increasingly severe government-induced shortages, forced rationing, astronomical water prices, and a permanently declining quality of life for our children, who will be required to stretch and ration every drop of water in their parched homes.

    The other is a vision of abundance, a new era of clean, cheap and plentiful water and hydro-electricity; great new reservoirs to store water in wet years to assure plenty in dry ones; a society whose children can enjoy the prosperity that abundant water provides, including fresh and affordable groceries from America’s agricultural cornucopia. 

    We choose abundance.