Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

OVERSIGHT FIELD HEARING ON “THE FRYINGPAN-ARKANSAS PROJECT AT 45: SUSTAINABLE WATER FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Friday, June 1, 2007
U.S. House of Representatives
Subcommittee on Water and Power
Committee on Natural Resources

Pueblo, Colorado

The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:00 a.m., in the Fortino Ballroom, Pueblo Community College, 900 W. Orman Avenue, Pueblo, Colorado, Hon. Grace Napolitano (Chairwoman of the Subcommittee] Presiding.

Present: Representatives Napolitano, Lamborn, Udall, Salazar and Perlmutter. STATEMENT OF THE HON. GRACE NAPOLITANO, A

REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA (Video clip played.]

Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Ladies and gentlemen, I was made aware of this clip yesterday, and I am glad that I brought it, because this is exactly where we're at today. This is our future, and it was just as evident and true then as it is today.

Again, I'm Congresswoman Grace Napolitano with the Subcommittee on Water and Power. Good morning, and welcome to our Subcommittee field hearing, and we'll now come to order.

This is the second in a series of oversight field hearings on sustainable water. Our first one was in the City of Pomona in California, dealing with perchlorate and other contaminants, and this hearing will focus on the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. However, the question I'm interested in is far broader: What lessons can be learned from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project about wasting water in general?

The Bureau of Reclamation has jurisdiction over the 17 western states, and the Bureau comes under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee. And one of the aims I have is to be able to assess the water needs of the western states who are facing many challenges, whether it is climate change, drought cycles, contaminants and various other areas, so this is but one in a series of hearings to be able to determine and assess the communities which face

(1)

[ocr errors]

challenges now and in the future being able to have a say that will go into the record.

I'd like to begin by welcoming our guests to the Subcommittee today. First my friend and colleague who approached me about the area—and by the way, I am open to field hearings, so whoever feels

I they have an issue or wants to be able to bring information to the table that is pertinent Representative John Salazar, who has been a most gracious host. John.

Second on my left is Congressman Mark Udall, another good friend.

To my right, I have my Ranking Member who has been sitting with me in the Subcommittee now for a while, Mr. Lamborn, and thank you, Mr. Lamborn, for being with us. I really appreciate it.

Also we have Representative Ed Perlmutter from Jefferson County. Welcome.

And I think that takes care of our colleagues. And staff is Zach.

Kiel. Stand up, Kiel. Republican staff. I just want to be sure we don't leave anybody out, OK?

I ask consent that Representative Perlmutter be allowed to sit on the dais with the Subcommittee this morning and to participate in the Subcommittee proceedings. Without objection, so ordered.

I'll begin the hearing with a brief statement and then recognize the members for short statements. And ladies and gentlemen, you'll be held to the 5-minute rule. You'll have a timer. I don't think you can all see it, but I'll turn it to whoever is speaking. We have many witnesses and a lot of ground to cover, and we need to be out of this facility by I believe it's 12:00 or 12:30. 12:30, so we don't want to belabor that.

Let's see. We start off now with Mr. Lamborn for 5 minutes. [The prepared statement of Mrs. Napolitano follows:] Statement of The Honorable Grace F. Napolitano, a Representative in

Congress from the State of California Good morning. I want to welcome our witnesses and guests this morning. I am so very happy be here in the beautiful state of Colorado, and I look forward to all the testimony this morning. It is very important to me as Chairwoman to get this Subcommittee out of Washington, D.C. and hear the perspectives of local people. There are no better experts on the realities of our ever-increasing water supply challenges than those on the ground, in the community.

I also want to take just a moment to thank our very gracious hosts—the administration and staff of the Pueblo Community College, and Congressman John Salazar and his staff. You have provided a perfect facility for our hearing this morning. On behalf of myself and Congressman Nick Rahall, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, I thank you for your hospitality.

This field hearing is the second in a series of field hearings this Subcommittee intends to conduct this year on sustainable water supplies for the west. All over the west, population growth, coupled with increased drought and decreased snow pack and rainfall due to the impacts of global warming, are already stressing our water supplies. Further, the infrastructure we currently have in place, often projects authorized and built decades ago long before we could have ever foreseen these challenges, may not necessarily be adequate to maintain sustainable water supplies well into the future.

No one understands this issue better than the communities of Southeastern Colorado. Today's hearing, aptly titled, “The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project at 45: Sustainable Water for the 21st Century,” will focus on western water management challenges in Colorado through the lens of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.

Like so many of the water projects in my home state of California, I understand this is a controversial issue. But this Subcommittee has a history of confronting such issues in a fair and bipartisan way. We accommodated as many witnesses as we could today so that we will get the full range of views on this issue. I am eager to listen.

Specifically, I hope to hear from our witnesses regarding the Congressionally-authorized purposes of the Fryingpan-Arkansas project, the role of the project in sustaining agriculture and communities in Southeast Colorado, and the new challenges facing water users, water managers, and Front Range cities facing unprecedented growth, climate change, and increasing needs for reliable water supplies.

STATEMENT OF THE HON. DOUG LAMBORN, A REPRESENTA

TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF COLORADO Mr. LAMBORN. Thank you all for being here. I also want to thank you, Chairwoman Napolitano, for coming here to our wonderful State of Colorado to learn more about the challenges that we face in meeting our current and future water needs.

As a new Member of Congress, I appreciate the opportunity to serve on this important Subcommittee, and I am certainly honored to serve as the acting Ranking Member on this Subcommittee while my colleague, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, is on maternity leave. While I am new to the ways of Washington, D.C., the challenges facing Colorado with respect to water are certainly not new to me. The old adage of build them and they will come no longer applies here in Colorado. They'll come anyway:

We have many water challenges facing us here. Past generations had the same challenges and they rose to the occasion by building visionary projects like the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. And really enjoyed that clip. The sense of history in seeing that was really special to me.

Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Thank you, Mr. Lamborn, and I'd like to ensure that that is entered into the record.

Mr. LAMBORN. The Fryingpan-Arkansas is a multi-use project that brings benefits to cities like Colorado Springs, but to irrigators as well. Now we have the opportunity to meet new water challenges, and the project can play a big role in our future water supply picture for not just my constituents, but for everyone in the region.

Today is an opportunity to focus on the future and to appreciate the collaborative efforts that have brought us all to where we are today. Over the years, stakeholders have marched gradually toward more compromise, but consensus has been elusive. What's important today is that we march to the future and not get stuck in the past.

Different perspectives will be heard today. Congressman Salazar and I have both introduced legislation regarding the Preferred Storage Option Plans (PSOPs), and there are significant differences. We are both working to further the needs and priorities of our districts though, and I am convinced that there is ample room for compromise. If we and everybody here do not step up to finalize solutions, the entire region will suffer, and that's not acceptable.

It's important to note that while PSOP is important, Colorado Springs has alternative options to address its needs; however, many communities downstream do not have that same opportunity, which is why the leadership is critical to moving forward for the benefit of all affected communities. Should an alternative to PSOP be pursued, many concessions and benefits to entities in the Arkansas River Valley would be lost forever, and it would be a shame to lose what could have been a win/win situation just because of the obstructionism of a few.

It's amazing to me that a handful of self-appointed experts want to dictate to other communities and cities what their future and destiny should be. No one has that right. The people of Colorado Springs would never dream of telling another city or community what its future should be, and they just ask that they be given that same fair treatment in return.

This hearing is a great opportunity to move past the rhetoric and work on real solutions. I do not expect us to resolve all of the issues surrounding projects in the Fry-Ark today, but this hearing is a good opportunity to move this process forward and hear all concerns and hopefully find true common ground. I hope the hearing has a positive and constructive purpose and tone, as opposed to any kind of name calling or criticism. I look forward to working with all parties to meet this goal.

Thank you. And thank you, Chairwoman Napolitano.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Lamborn follows:] Statement of The Honorable Doug Lamborn, a Representative in Congress

from the State of Colorado Thank you all for being here. I also want to thank you, Chairwoman Napolitano, for coming to our wonderful state of Colorado to learn more about the challenges that we face in meeting our current and future water needs.

As a new Member of Congress, I appreciate the opportunity to serve on this important subcommittee and I am certainly honored to serve as the Acting Ranking Member on this subcommittee while my colleague Cathy McMorris Rodgers is on maternity leave.

While I am new to the ways of Washington, DC, the challenges facing Colorado with respect to water are certainly not new to me. The old adage of “build it and they will come” no longer applies here in Colorado. They'll come anyway.

We have many water challenges facing us here. Past generations had the same challenge and they rose to the occasion by building visionary projects like the Fryingpan-Arkansas project. Our communities would not be what they are today without this project. The FryArk is a multi-use project that brings benefits to cities like Colorado Springs but to irrigators as well. Now, we have the opportunity to meet new water challenges and the project can play a big role in our ture water supply picture for not just my constituents but for everyone in the region.

Today is an opportunity to focus on the future and to appreciate the collaborative efforts that have brought us all to where we are today. Over the years, stakeholders have marched gradually towards more compromise but consensus has been elusive. What's important today is that we march to the future and not get stuck in the past.

Differing perspectives will be heard today. Congressman Salazar and I have both introduced legislation regarding the Preferred Storage Options Plan and there are significant differences. We are both working to further the needs and priorities of our districts, yet I am convinced that there is ample room for compromise. If we and everyone here do not step up to finalize solutions, the entire region will suffer and that's not acceptable.

It is important to note that while PSOP is important, Colorado Springs has alternate options to address its needs. However, many communities downstream do not have that same opportunity, which is why leadership is critical to moving forward for the benefit of all affected communities. Should an alternative to PSOP be pursued, many concessions and benefits to entities in the Arkansas River Valley would be lost forever, and it would be a shame to lose what could have been a win-win situation outcome just because of the obstructionism of a few.

It is amazing to me that a handful of self-appointed experts want to dictate to other communities and cities what their future and destiny should be. A few have even said, for instance that Colorado Springs should not grow any more. No one has that right. The people of Colorado Springs would never dream of telling another community what its future should be, and they just ask that they be given the same fair treatment in return.

This hearing is a great opportunity to move past the rhetoric and work on real solutions. I do not expect us to resolve all of the issues surrounding projects in the FryArk today, but this hearing is a good opportunity to move this process forward and hear all concerns and find true common ground. I hope it has a positive and constructive purpose and tone, as opposed to name calling and criticism. I look forward to working with all parties to meet this goal. Thank

you.

Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Thank you very much, and we will now proceed to our next member, Representative Salazar. STATEMENT OF THE HON. JOHN SALAZAR, A REPRESENTA

TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF COLORADO Mr. SALAZAR. Thank you, Madam Chair.

First of all, I want to thank you for allowing us to be here in Pueblo and for your visit as well. Today I'd like to talk a little bit about the Arkansas basin. I'd like to talk about an individual who has been and lived through it his entire life. This is about a young boy in the Arkansas basin, John Singletary, who sold his gold frying pan to try to raise money for the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.

Little Johnny dreamed of the day when farmers in the lower Arkansas Valley would never have to worry about future water needs. He remembers going to Rocky Ford with his father and seeing a booming farm town, which seemed to have melon stands on every street corner. In 1962, as we just saw, President Kennedy came to Pueblo to sign the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project into law. The Fry-Ark Project was being built to deliver water to the agricultural-based communities east of Pueblo.

In committee hearing the legendary Congressman and Committee Chairman, Wayne Aspinall, who we heard President Kennedy speak about, laid out his argument for the FryingpanArkansas Project. Aspinall stated that only 17,000 acre-feet of water would be used for the municipalities in the Arkansas Basin and of that only 5,000 acre-feet outside the lower Ark for Colorado Springs.

He said that of the 219,100 acre-feet of usable project water, that an overwhelming majority of the 184,000 acre-feet would be designated for irrigated agriculture. That's roughly 85 percent of the water for agriculture. Simply put the Fry-Ark was approved by Congress and signed by President Kennedy for the primary purpose of serving agriculture in the Arkansas basin.

Today I am sad to say that agriculture is no longer the focus of the Fry-Ark Project. Even worse, the project is turning into an instrument to move water from the ag-based communities like Crowley County and Rocky Ford, to growing metropolises, sprawling communities, and sometimes out of basin. Promises made to these farm communities have not made up for the fact of the total community damage caused by their drive. And while Aurora cannot legally purchase Fry-Ark Project water, the Bureau of Reclamation has allowed Aurora to utilize the Fry-Ark facilities to move clean mountain water via exchange from water they purchased off the farm. The water taken off the farm will never return. The water taken out of the basin will never return. The trend leaves no hope

« PředchozíPokračovat »