April 27, 2017 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House Committee on Natural Resources unanimously passed legislation sponsored by the Congressman, H.R. 660 the Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act, during a legislative markup:
“In the first 100 days of the Trump Administration, the president has made it clear that business as usual in Washington D.C. is over. No longer will the American people tolerate bloated government agencies that spend us into oblivion while dodging its moral responsibility to provide transparency. Time and time again, history has shown us that this lack of oversight has proven to be a recipe for rampant waste, fraud and abuse.
“Agencies, like BOR, wield an enormous amount of influence in managing the most important resource for Western states: water. Americans have a right to know if this agency is effectively utilizing our tax dollars in the most efficient way. My bipartisan bill will require a cost estimate and a detailed list of major repairs for BOR facilities and allow for meaningful steps to be taken to address the maintenance backlog. This transparency will ensure an abundant supply of clean water and power for future generations.”
The full text of the Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act can be found HERE.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
There are 20 bipartisan cosponsors for this legislation including Representatives Mark Amodei, Andy Biggs, Diane Black, Matt Cartwright, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Blake Farenthold, Trent Franks, John Garamendi, Louie Gohmert, Jody Hice, Jared Huffman, Doug LaMalfa, Tom McClintock, Martha McSally, Dan Newhouse, Stevan Pearce, Kyrsten Sinema and Scott Tipton and David Valadao.
The Bureau of Reclamation was established in 1902 and much of the agency’s now aging infrastructure was built more than 50 years ago. Many of the facilities operated by BOR are in desperate need of repairs. This bill requires that the federal government make public the estimated cost of repairs for Reclamation facilities. For years, Congress and water users throughout the country have asked for such information, only to be rebuffed time and again.
More specifically, this legislation would require the BOR to do an Infrastructure Needs Assessment Report every two years as part of the BOR’s existing Asset Management Plan reporting process. This Infrastructure Needs Assessment Report would be available to the public on BOR’s webpage. The report would include:
1) An itemized list of major repair and rehabilitation needs at all federally managed BOR facilities and projects.
2) A cost estimate of the expenditures needed to address those repairs.
3) A categorical safety rating, using BOR’s own existing categorical system, of the importance of addressing each item.