Barrasso proposes bill for Wyoming water supply
WESTERN Act would allow states to play a larger role in approving water storage projects
by U.S. Senator John Barrasso – media release
April 19, 2008
(Washington) – U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., has laid out a plan to eliminate bureaucratic red tape to secure a clean, abundant supply of water for Wyoming’s future.
“Wyoming often faces a severe water shortage,” Barrasso said. “The need to provide a clean, abundant supply of water is essential to the survival of our state. My bill will give us the tools we need to develop the additional water needed for the future of Wyoming.”
Barrasso outlined his plan during a Senate hearing on Aging Water Infrastructure.
The bill will allow states, like Wyoming, to play a larger role in approving water storage projects. States will be able to challenge burdensome permit conditions imposed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
“The time to act is now. The longer we wait to repair our water infrastructure and provide more water storage, the more it will impact the livelihood of ranchers and farmers in Wyoming.”
“Wyoming, not Washington, knows what is best in terms of projected water needs for its citizens. This bill will go a long way in reducing Washington red tape to provide enhanced water storage opportunities for communities across the state.”
Barrasso’s “Water Essential Storage To Enhance Regions in Need Act, or WESTERN Act, will provide Wyoming the ability to have a greater say in the development of water resources within the state.
The WESTERN Act is cosponsored by Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.
Under the WESTERN Act, a new “Corps of Engineers Board of Appeals” would be created, comprised of five members.
Three of the board members would be from State water development agencies, the other two would be Army Corps employees.
The Board would review appeals by states on the purpose and need of water storage projects, conditions placed on a water storage permit, and final decision by the Secretary of the Army on a permit for such a project.