HR 4225, introduced by Jim Costa (D-CA), would allow federal stimulus money to pay the non-Federal shares of the costs of water projects in California’s Central Valley.
The bill marks a departure from decades of water planning in California in which private beneficiaries have been required to pay for their share of public works projects.
Groups like the Sierra Club, Friends of the River, and the Planning and Conservation League are submitting a joint letter to the House committee on Natural Resources and the Secretary of the Interior, urging the committee to amend the bill to preserve oversight on the projects that are funded with federal stimulus money. As the letter states:
We are particularly concerned that this bill overturns a quarter century or more of bipartisan federal and state law that requires the beneficiaries of water and power projects to repay a share of the costs of the projects or bear the major upfront burden of facility construction costs. The economic principles here are obvious; if there are no costs to the beneficiaries of projects to dam and channelize California’s rivers or overdraft groundwater aquifers, the demand for these projects becomes infinite.
For more details, see the letter sent to the House Resources Committee and the Secretary of the Interior.