Congressman Garamendi Introduces Drought, Invasive Species, and Conservation Measures for Bill on House Floor
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a former Deputy Secretary of the Interior Department, introduced amendments to a bill that appropriates funds for Interior, Forest Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency for Fiscal Year 2016. The measures would improve monitoring of the drought; boost efforts to combat invasive species; and, bring attention to the need to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The legislation, H.R. 2822, was debated on the Floor of the House of Representatives today in preparation for a vote. Garamendi issued the following statement:
“Humanity has long recognized we have an obligation to ‘till and keep’ our earth – to responsibly use and sustain of our natural resources.
“Nowhere is this clearer for Californians than with our current drought. I introduced an amendment to this bill to improve monitoring of drought conditions and management of our scarce water supplies. Recent data has shown how dramatically we are depleting our groundwater throughout the Central Valley. Improved data will help our water managers better plan for the dry summer ahead.
“I also introduced a measure to fortify our nation’s defenses against invasive species. This would help protect Clear Lake from the encroachment of quagga mussels and support the community’s economy and natural environment. It would also combat water hyacinth, an invasive weed in the Delta, which is a risk to public health and a threat to the security of California’s water supply.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund plays a crucial role in protecting our national parks, refuges, and forests, as well as community parks, trails, and ball fields across our nation. This program will expire in 100 days unless we take action. I offered an amendment here to focus Congress’s attention on the important matter.”
The first amendment would have increased funding for the Water Resources account by more than $11.6 million. This account includes the Water Availability and Use Science Program, the Groundwater and Streamflow Information System, the National Water Quality Program, and the Water Resources Research Act Program. The amendment would have been fully paid for by removing money from Oil and Gas Permitting account, but still kept its funding $25.3 million above the President’ s Budget request. While the Congressman withdrew the amendment, he secured a commitment from the Subcommittee Chairman to address the issue. Click here to watch video of the House Floor debate.
The second amendment would help fight invasive species by increasing funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Aquatic Habitat and Species Conservation account by more than $3.2 million. The Congressman called for a recorded vote on this. Click here to watch the lively debate.
While the amendment for the Land and Water Conservation Fund did not ask for a funding increase, it presented the serious issue to the U.S. Congress. The Congressman withdrew the amendment when it became apparent that it would be ruled out of order. Click here to watch it being initially offered and garnering bipartisan support on the House Floor.