Congressman Garamendi Advocates for Vital Flood Protection
WASHINGTON, DC – The Sacramento region is the second most flood prone in the nation – behind only New Orleans – representing a ticking time bomb that requires immediate preventative federal action. During debate on the floor of the House of Representatives on the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), implored his colleagues to support vital flood protection along the Sacramento River and its tributaries, including projects in Glenn, Sutter, Yuba, and Yolo counties, the Natomas area in Sacramento, and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. They rejected his pleas, and for the safety of residents in his district, he voted “no.” It passed by a 227-198 vote.
The Congressman offered an amendment to the legislation that would have increased funding by $100,000,000 for the Army Corps of Engineers to work on these and other essential levee projects (which the House failed to support by a vote of 170-253). He also offered an amendment that would have increased funding to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and an amendment to better use taxpayer dollars spent on a nuclear energy project (which the House failed to approve by a vote of 155-266 and by voice vote respectively).
The House Energy and Water Appropriations bill would slash funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for levee projects, by $104 million, on top of the $250 million of automatic budget cuts of sequestration.
“Strengthening levees to prevent a catastrophic, deadly flood, which we know is coming, is commonsense and fiscal sense and an absolute moral imperative. Republicans and Democrats in Northern California strongly support flood protection infrastructure, but the House of Representatives refuses this basic responsibility to protect its citizens from the next Katrina. As this process moves forward, I will continue to work with local stakeholders in advocating for lifesaving levee construction. I’ve been at this fight for a long time, and I’m not giving up,” said Congressman Garamendi, a Member of the House Transportation Committee and its Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.
Congressman Garamendi has relentlessly supported flood protection, including by introducing the aforementioned amendment to increase funding for the Army Corps of Engineers; speaking on the Floor of the House of Representatives in favor of projects in Hamilton City, Natomas, Yuba City, and Marysville and throughout the 3rd District; encouraging the Corps to expedite completion of the Sutter Butte Levee Project along the Feather River in a Transportation Committee Hearing; coauthoring a bipartisan letter in support of the Sutter Butte Levee Project; holding press conference on Delta levees; discussing the matter at town halls; meeting with regional stakeholders in Hamilton City in Hamilton City to discuss the J-Levee project and in his California and DC offices to discuss that and other flood protection priorities; and supporting levee needs in the Water Resources Development Act, which will be considered by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee next week.
The Congressman has also championed research for technology to secure our energy impendence. He authored an amendment to increase funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a program based on the successful Defense Research Projects Agency, which played a critical role in developing the internet. This amendment would have benefited Northern California’s innovative businesses and Universities, which are leading the way to a 21st Century clean energy economy. ARPA-E conducts forward thinking, game-changing research on agricultural biofuels, advanced batteries, wind turbines, and other energy sources, and can serves as a launch pad for private businesses. During the debate, Congressman Garamendi spoke on ARPA-E, on the valuable role of wind energy, on the importance of investing in science; and energy research in combating climate change.
In order to pay for these funding increases, the Army Corps of Engineers and ARPA-E amendments would have reduced spending on nuclear weapons that was beyond the Administration’s budget. Independent experts on deterrence already acknowledge that our nuclear arsenal is more than sufficient, already capable to blow up the earth several times.
The Congressman’s third amendment would have called for a report on a more prudent use of taxpayer dollars than the money headed toward a National Nuclear Security Administration project at Savannah River, Georgia which is projected to go over budget by $5.9 billion.