June 14, 2012 - WASHINGTON, DC — Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider the Conservation and Economic Growth Act, a package of fourteen Natural Resources Committee bills that will create new American jobs, grow the economy, protect the environment and promote the development of renewable hydropower. U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) will lead Floor debate on the bipartisan legislative package, which includes his legislation, H.R. 2578, that will provide for much needed water storage during wet years in the San Joaquin Valley of California.
“There is a direct correlation between water and jobs here in the Valley, and with consistent double-digit unemployment rates, we need to find solutions to the storage, conveyance and regulatory problems exacerbating our state’s man-made water crisis,” said Rep. Denham. “My bill, H.R. 2578, addresses the need for more storage, which has the potential to generate an additional 10,000 mega-watt hours of clean, renewable electricity, provide increased agricultural benefits, and bring desperately needed jobs to the Valley to help grow our local economy for the benefit of all.”
H.R. 2578 will allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to consider a proposal by the Merced Irrigation District (MID) to raise the spillway at the Exchequer Dam by 10 feet without using any state or federal dollars. The legislation has bipartisan support in Congress and the backing of the Central Valley delegation. Co-sponsors include Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. Devin Nunes and Rep. Dennis Cardoza.
All fourteen bills included in the Conservation and Economic Growth Act have moved through the House under regular order. They have all had subcommittee legislative hearings, been marked up by the Full House Natural Resources Committee and been favorably reported to the full House for Floor consideration. A full list of legislation included in this package is included below.
The Conservation and Economic Growth Act
Title I: Lower Merced River (HR 2578 - Denham) Creates new jobs and helps spur economic growth in California’s San Joaquin Valley by increasing the opportunity to construct expanded water storage. This increased water storage has the potential to generate an additional 10,000 megawatt hours of clean renewable electricity, create 840 jobs, increase recreational activity in the area, and increase water supplies for farmers.
Title II: Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation Act (HR 460 - Chaffetz) Facilitates the development of 50 megawatts of clean, renewable hydropower on the Diamond Fork System of the Central Utah Project. It would provide enough electricity to power 50,000 homes and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would generate $4 million in federal revenue within the first ten years alone.
Title III: Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act (HR 1408 - Young, AK) Helps protect hundreds of timber jobs in rural and Native communities and protects the environment by allowing the Sealaska Native Corporation to receive its remaining land conveyance under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act by selecting Native lands from within a designated pool of land in Southeast Alaska.
Title IV: San Antonio Missions National Historic Park Boundary Expansion Act (HR 3100 - Canseco) Expands the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park boundary to include an additional 151 acres by donation that are currently owned or being managed by the National Park Service that are necessary to protect park resources.
Title V: Waco Mammoth National Monument Establishment Act of 2012(HR 1545 - Flores) Recognizes and establishes the Waco Mammoth site as the Waco Mammoth National Monument. By partnering with a local, non-profit foundation, this measure would increase tourism and allow the site to receive national recognition.
Title VI: North Cascade National Park Access (HR 2352 - Hastings, WA) Supports recreational access and tourism by allowing the National Park Service to relocate and rebuild a flood-damaged road in the North Cascades National Park.
Title VII: Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act (HR 3069 - Hastings, WA) Protects endangered Columbia River salmon from predation by aggressive California sea lions. Pacific Northwest residents spend nearly $1 billion annually to protect the salmon, yet non-lethal methods have proven inadequate in removing California sea lions that gorge on endangered fish.
Title VIII: Reauthorization of Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act (HR 3685 - Herger) Extends a bipartisan project to implement forest management activities on up to 70,000 acres per year in Northern California to address declining forest health and rural economies. Would create over 2,000 jobs, increase economic activity in rural areas and increase Forest Reserve Revenues.
Title IX: Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act (HR 4039 - Amodei) Mandates the fair market sale of approximately 10,200 acres of public lands to the City of Yerington for economic, recreational and cultural development. This would help create local jobs and support economic development.
Title X: Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act (HR 4094 - Jones) Protects jobs and small businesses by restoring and ensuring reasonable pedestrian and motorized access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area in North Carolina.
Title XI: Grazing Improvement Act of 2012 (HR 4234 - Labrador) Improves and streamlines the process for renewing livestock grazing permits and extends the length of permits to provide a stable economic environment.
Title XII: Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (HR 3065 - Shuler) Supports recreational shooting by providing states greater flexibility to use their Pittman-Robertson funds to establish, expand and maintain public target ranges.
Title XIII: Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2011(HR 258 - Wittman) Facilitates clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay through greater transparency and accountability on taxpayer money spent on restoration.
Title XIV: National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act (HR 1505 – Bishop, UT) Enhances border security by ensuring that Border Patrol has access to federal lands along the border and is not prohibited from doing its job due to bureaucratic red tape.