TU Statement on FY19 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill


September 18, 2018

Contact: Steve Moyer, smoyer@tu.org, (571) 274-0593

Trout Unlimited Statement on Passage of the 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON D.C. Last Friday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which included vital funds for western drought remediation and fisheries habitat programs. With a vote count of 377-20, House approval of the $147.5 billion Minibus, which also includes spending provisions for Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and the Legislative Branch, comes in the wake of the Senates strong bipartisan approval (92-5) of the same package on September 12.

Trout Unlimited (TU) applauds the final product as a bipartisan deal that fully supports and funds TUs priority programs, like the System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP), and rejects harmful riders like the Clean Water Rule Repeal. The legislation now goes to the President for final approval.

Trout Unlimited is especially pleased that the Energy and Water Appropriations bill provides full funding — and an extension until 2022 — for the System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP), an emerging, critical tool for protecting water storage levels in the largest and most important federal reservoirs in the West: Lakes Powell and Mead. The SCPP provides a flexible water management tool for agricultural producers and supports trout fisheries in the Upper Colorado River Basin. Most important, the program conserves water in ways that benefit the entire Colorado River systema goal that reflects true collaboration among all water users in the region. Adequate appropriations in the FY19 Energy and Water bill will build on the momentum the program has already generated and take stakeholders one step further in the development of long-term solutions to withstand increasing water demands in the face of prolonged drought.

Trout Unlimited also lauds the bills rejection of several harmful environmental riders, including the Houses Sec. 506 Anti-salmon Rider, and the proposed repeal of the Clean Water Rule.

Section 506 would have jeopardized thirteen species of wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia-Snake River Basin. By restricting water flows over dams, and formally approving a plan of operation that was underdeveloped and in violation of environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, the rider aimed to undermine protections for critical aquatic habitat in the region.

Trout Unlimited also salutes Congress for rejecting the Clean Water Rule Repeal (CWR) contained in the House version of the bill. The provision would have repealed the CWR, also referred to as Water of the United States (WOTUS), which was adopted in 2015 as a critical clarification to the Clean Water Act (CWA) that ensures clean water protections for millions of headwater stream miles nationwide.

We are pleased the House and Senate have passed Energy and Water spending provisions for fiscal year 2019, and appreciate the strong leadership of Subcommittee leadersSenators Alexander and Feinstein, and Representatives Simpson and Kapturfor getting the job done, said Steve Moyer, Vice President of Government Affairs at Trout Unlimited. Energy and Water programs like the SCPP provide funding and protections for our most critical cold-water resources, benefiting recreational anglers, ranch and farm communities, and local businesses and communities downstream. Trout Unlimited applauds Congresss swift and rider-free passage of the bill, and we look forward to the presidents timely signature of the Minibus.

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Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North Americas trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.