Tipton Praises Passage of Bill to Bolster Funding for Water Infrastructure, Arkansas Valley Conduit
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) voted to pass legislation that will fund critical water infrastructure projects like the Arkansas Valley Conduit. H.R. 5895, the House-Senate Conference Report to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019, included increased investment in the Water and Related Resources account, ensuring that the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) has the ability to fulfil its commitment to fund authorized water infrastructure projects that have completed the environmental review process. The Arkansas Valley Conduit is eligible for this funding. The House agreed to the report with a bipartisan vote of 377-20.
“Every American deserves access to a safe and reliable source of drinking water, but unfortunately, the water supply for 50,000 people living in the lower Arkansas Valley is currently contaminated,” said Tipton. “The quickest and most cost-effective method to address this complex issue is through the construction of the Arkansas Valley Conduit. I’m glad that the final bill included increased investment in water resources that will benefit projects like the Conduit.”
Under H.R. 5895, funding for the Water and Related Resources Account under the USBR increased from $1.33 billion to $1.39 billion.
The Arkansas Valley Conduit project is the last component of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, which Congress authorized in 1962. The conduit is a planned 130-mile-water delivery system from the Pueblo Damn to communities throughout the Arkansas River Valley to Southwest Colorado. The project would help replace a drinking supply that is naturally contaminated by radionuclides and therefore not in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
During a recent hearing in the Natural Resources Committee on the Department of Interior’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request, Tipton asked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke why funding for the Arkansas Valley Conduit was zeroed out. Zinke indicated that Interior has asked for title transfer authority that would free up money to help fund projects like the conduit. Following the hearing, Tipton sent a letter to Zinke requesting additional information on the Department’s planned title transfers and funding for the Arkansas Valley Conduit. Read Tipton’s letter here.
Responding on behalf of Zinke, USBR Commissioner Brenda Burman indicated that a more streamlined approach to title transfers could result in savings for the project beneficiaries. She also reiterated the agency’s commitment to working with partners and stakeholders to expedite construction of the Arkansas Valley Conduit. Read Commissioner Burman’s response here.
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