May 17, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Western Growers Encourages Senate Committee to Act on Western Water Bill

IRVINE, Calif. (May 17, 2016) — Statement by Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif encouraging the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to move to mark-up of Western drought legislation:

“We are pleased that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee remains committed to resolving the short- and long-term challenges related to the ongoing drought facing the Western United States. The five Western water bills considered today by the Senate Water and Power Subcommittee represent welcomed progress toward the goal of bringing a final product to the Senate floor.

While we support the California water package introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein [D-CA], we recognize that success is dependent on a bipartisan, regional effort that addresses the needs of diverse stakeholders throughout the West.

In addition to revising the flawed policies restricting water capture and storage in California, we are interested in a legislative solution that provides for the streamlining of new surface water storage facilities, more creative financing of water infrastructure projects and greater flexibility for states and water agencies to manage their water supplies – elements of which are included in several of the bills heard today by the Water and Power Subcommittee.

However, today’s hearings must be viewed by our Senate leaders as an intermediate – not final – step in the process. We encourage the Committee Members to quickly clear a path for these bills so they can be marked up and passed along for consideration by the full Senate. The House has already done their part. It is time to bring them a bill that can be negotiated in conference.

To avoid the distractions of the upcoming presidential election, Senate action on Western drought legislation must happen now. There is no alternative. Either our Senators help ensure the West is resilient enough to withstand future droughts, or they risk condemning the region to another year of increasingly uncertain water supplies with potentially irreparable environmental and human harm.

About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California and Colorado. Our members and their workers provide half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America’s fresh organic produce. For generations we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.