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House Votes to Speed Permitting for Dams, Reservoirs

Jun 22, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today in favor of H.R. 1654, the Water Supply Permitting Coordination Act.

Excerpts of the speech are below, or watch online here.

“Now, living in a naturally dry region that we do, you’d think it would be common practice to prepare for inevitable times of drought by capturing water when Mother Nature blesses us with the rain and snow…. What would help the people in our district and across California and across the west to prepare for future droughts we know are coming? We should start by building more dams and reservoirs. So what’s stopping us? Well, a ridiculous permitting process that forces us to wait and wait and wait when we should be acting.”

“Just look at history. Take the High Savery Dam in Wyoming. It took 14 years to permit the project but only two years to build it. It was finished in 2004. Think about how much the world changed in those 14 years of time. In 1990 somewhere around 5 million people had cell phones and only around 15 percent of Americans owned a computer. By 2004 when the dam was finished about 180 million people had cell phones and 62 percent of Americans owned a computer. In 1990 the most popular movie was Total Recall. By 2004, we were already on to Shrek 2. Now, looking forward to my home state, we can’t wait 14 years after starting the permitting process to finish our projects.”

“So fixing the process isn’t just about saving some headaches or few hours of time. This is about making sure millions of people in California and across America have the water they need and deserve. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Congressman Tom McClintock for this legislation. Fixing this permitting process for water storage is more than just common sense. It’s about making us a nation of doers again to get the American people what they actually need.”

“We should build more dams, and they should not have to wait 14 years with only two years to build it. We can do better, we should do better, and we will do better when we pass this bill.”