Sending Office: Committee on Natural Resources – Minority Staff
Please Oppose Destructive Dams Bill
Please join me in opposing H.R. 1654, the so-called Water Supply Permitting Coordination Act. H.R. 1654 threatens thousands of jobs, undermines bedrock environmental laws, and does nothing to improve our nation’s deficient infrastructure.
H.R. 1654’s proponents falsely claim it is an infrastructure bill. In reality, the bill is simply an environmental deregulation bill in disguise that will provide no funding for new or existing infrastructure.
H.R. 1654 supporters falsely claim the bill is needed because environmental laws block the construction of new dams. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, not a single Reclamation dam has been denied construction due to lack of agency coordination
or delays associated with environmental review or permitting. A 2012 Congressional Research Service report found that the most likely causes of delay for major infrastructure projects are lack of funding and local and state permitting issues, not environmental
Supporters of H.R. 1654 also ignore the fact that incomplete project reviews for new dams can have devastating consequences for industry and public safety. Dams are often built in geologically complex terrain and are required to hold under monumental stress.
The recent failure at the Oroville Dam in California is a stark reminder of the need for deliberate and detailed evaluations for major new dams. Without proper environmental review, dam construction will also further decimate the West Coast fishing industry
and jeopardize the thousands of jobs that rely on healthy fish runs.
H.R. 1654 is an unpopular, ill-conceived bill that is opposed by numerous conservation and fishing industry groups including the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Audubon California, Endangered Species Coalition, American Rivers, Defenders
of Wildlife, Earthjustice, California Trout, the Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, Grand Canyon Trust, Klamath Forest Alliance, the League of Conservation Voters, the Golden Gate Salmon Association, and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s
Associations. A previous version of this bill, H.R. 3980 from the 113th Congress, was also opposed by the Obama administration.
Existing law helps ensure that the impacts of proposed dams funded by taxpayers are fully analyzed, that a range of alternatives are considered, that environmental impacts are mitigated, and the public has input in the decision-making process. H.R. 1654
undermines popular protections in the existing review process. Please join me in opposing H.R. 1654.
Raúl M. Grijalva
Natural Resource Committee
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0