GROW Act Passes House

  • by Josh Abel
  • Jul 13, 2017
  • Water News

The House, on Wednesday, passed a drought bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. David Valadao (R-CA). The bill, HR 23, the “Gaining Responsibility on Water Act” (GROW Act) passed after a lively debate by a vote of 230-190.

HR 23, which largely passed along party lines, would codify the Bay-Delta Accord, update the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA), enact “one-stop-shop” permitting reforms aimed at building infrastructure to capture more water, require the federal government to expedite and complete consideration of feasibility studies for water storage projects, and prevent federal agencies from requiring certain entities to relinquish their water rights to the United States in order to use public lands.

Following its passage in the House, Valadao was confident that his bill would be signed into law: “My bill, the GROW Act, will restore water deliveries, ensuring the Central Valley has access to a reliable water supply. I look forward to working with the Senate and sending this bill to the President’s desk.”

The GROW Act now heads to the Senate where it faces significant obstacles. In a joint statement, California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris opposed the bill. The Senators argue that the bill “would preempt existing California environmental laws and regulations, giving the Trump administration greater control over water management in our state.” Moreover, they argue that the bill would “eliminate the existing biological opinions required under the Endangered Species Act” and prevent “California from using new scientific data to manage our water supply by reverting us back to outdated limits set more than two decades ago.”

It is unclear when the Senate will consider the GROW Act or if its House sponsors will attempt to attach the bill to other legislative vehicles.

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