LaMalfa Votes to Streamline Permitting for Water Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. –- (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 1654, the Water Supply Permitting Coordination Act. This bill establishes the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) as the single lead agency to coordinate all reviews, analysis, and permitting of construction of new water infrastructure.

LaMalfa said: “In recent years, lack of adequate water infrastructure has caused major problems in California. While it may only take a few years to complete construction of a new project, it usually takes many years – even decades – to fulfill the complex and duplicative permitting processes required by multiple federal agencies. This bill streamlines that process by tasking one agency, BOR, with the responsibility of coordinating all permits, reviews, or other requirements for critical water storage projects.

While this bill applies to projects run by the federal government, I offered an amendment to also include State-led surface storage projects, such as Sites Reservoir. This will allow states to address their own water infrastructure needs without requiring, nor excluding, federal funding, and to allow state projects to also enjoy the coordination that the federal projects would under the bill. Californians want new and better water storage infrastructure, and this bill establishes a framework for that to happen in a faster and more efficient manner – preventing permittees from being caught in the middle of another round of bureaucratic badminton.”

Currently, new surface water storage projects require federal, state, and local permits from multiple agencies. The agencies’ conflicting permit requirements can significantly delay projects and add millions of dollars to project costs. H.R. 1654 expedites construction of new or expanded water infrastructure projects by establishing the BOR as a “one stop shop” for permitting and license approval.

Rep. LaMalfa offered an amendment to the bill, which enhances federal cooperation in planning and construction of State-led water storage projects by ensuring such projects are eligible for permit streamlining under this bill. This also enhances opportunities for federal-state partnerships on infrastructure by including projects in which multiple levels of government participate.

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