Nov 8, 2021Bipartisan infrastructure bill delivers major water improvements for West
In response to the Nov. 5 passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by the U.S. House of Representatives, Western Growers President & CEO Dave Puglia issued the following statement:
“Western fresh produce growers and indeed farmers throughout the West have reason to celebrate passage of this bipartisan infrastructure bill. The inclusion of $8 billion dedicated to addressing critical water supply needs will provide significant benefits for family farmers and rural communities across the West experiencing climate change impacts, historic drought, regulatory pressures and wildfire. The funding for additional water, forestry and ecosystem restoration programs is vital to safeguarding our domestic agricultural production and long-term food security.
“We appreciate the good work of our House and Senate champions who understood the need for, and worked tirelessly to secure, substantial investments in Western water supply priorities, including repairing aging dams and canals, building new surface and groundwater storage and conveyance facilities, and funding water conservation and recycling projects.
“Following President Biden’s signature, we urge the administration to quickly drive implementation of these provisions. Time, like water, is in short supply. We cannot let red tape and activist litigation stall or block the many long overdue projects necessary to repair and enhance our aging water infrastructure and develop reliable new sources of water supply.”
California Farm Bureau hails bill’s passage
California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson on Nov. 8 applauded members of Congress for passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, hailing its crucial benefits for California’s agricultural communities.
“We applaud Congress for passing this critical bill,” Johansson said in a news release. “This represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make the kind of investment we need to bring our rural infrastructure into the 21st century.”
The legislation – H.R. 3684 – provides $550 billion in new spending on physical infrastructure over the next five years. That includes investing $110 billion in U.S. roads and bridges, $65 billion for broadband, $17.3 billion for ports and inland waterways and more than $8 billion to repair and invest in water storage and conveyance projects for the drought-impacted West.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that California would receive more than $45 billion in long-term funding.
“This will benefit California’s farmers and ranchers, who are counting on improvements to millions of miles of roadways and waterways to get food to America’s dinner tables and upgraded ports to ship products to international markets,” Johansson said. “Our rural communities can thrive with expanded broadband and feel protected due to investments in forests that reduce wildfire dangers.< “And amid our searing drought, farmers can now look forward to long-needed improvements in water storage and conveyance systems. But we need to make sure those investments result in real infrastructure and are not bogged down in regulatory processes.” The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 32,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.