Tipton Votes to Support Western Water Users, Arkansas Valley Conduit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) voted to pass legislation to cut bureaucratic red tape and free up resources for Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) projects like the Arkansas Valley Conduit. The Reclamation Title Transfer and Non-Federal Infrastructure Incentivization Act (H.R. 3281) passed the House with a vote of 233-184.
“Streamlining the process of transferring completed Bureau of Reclamation projects to local entities would not only incentivize more non-federal investment in water infrastructure, it would also free up more federal dollars to support important projects that have been delayed due to a lack of funding,” said Tipton. “A perfect example of one of these projects is the Arkansas Valley Conduit, which if built, would deliver safe drinking water to the people of the Lower Arkansas Valley.”
During a recent hearing in the Natural Resources Committee on the Department of the Interior’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request, Tipton asked Interior Secretary 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 wrote a letter to Zinke requesting additional information on the Department’s planned title transfers and funding for the Arkansas Valley Conduit.
Responding on behalf of Zinke, BOR Commissioner Brenda Burman indicated that a more streamlined approach to title transfers could result in savings for the project beneficiaries. Burman also reiterated the BOR’s commitment to working with partners and stakeholders to expedite construction of the Arkansas Valley Conduit.
H.R. 3281 would create a more efficient process for transferring the titles of certain BOR projects or facilities to local water users.
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.
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