By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley) – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) voted for H.R. 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014. Currently, California is facing the worst drought in 1,200 years which has led to high unemployment and higher food prices across the country. This bill will expedite the approval of projects to address water supply shortages in California.
This vital piece of legislation provides eighteen months of relief (two water years) while protecting the State Water Project and protecting Northern California water rights. There are three to four months of rain in California and under H.R. 5781 as much water as possible will be captured during that time. Additional water will be stored by capturing high river flows from storms.
H.R. 5781 also provides regulatory flexibility to expedite permits and complete reviews to improve water quality and water transfer requests. It does not amend the Endangered Species Act, or deprive federal fishery agencies of any discretion to take actions necessary for the long-term survival of listed species.
Cook says, “This legislation will provide much needed relief to Californians suffering under horrendous drought conditions without harming the environment. This common sense bill brings together ideas from the House and Senate, but it’s only a temporary fix.
“This legislation will expire on September 30, 2016. We need to continue working together to come up with a long-term water solution for California families.”
A member of the House Veterans’ Affairs, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.