Mother Lode Congressman Pushes WOW Act
Sonora, CA – Mother Lode District 4 Congressman Tom McClintock is introducing a new measure that he touts “will provide a pathway to water abundance” for western states.
The bill H.R 5217 or WOW Act, which stands for Water Optimization for the West was introduced by McClintock along with 11 members representing western states citing that the legislation is designed to reform water policy in the west.
McClintock says, “Western water policy is a bureaucratic nightmare designed to delay and deny the storage, delivery, and use of our abundant water by farmers and residents.” He argues, “Environmental groups have used the law to block construction on new reservoirs, resulting in man-made droughts that have devastated entire communities. This legislation provides a common-sense approach to allowing water to flow quickly and efficiently to the communities that need it while maintaining environmental protections.”
Noting that the WOW Act ensures that states can prepare for the dry years in times of abundance, McClintock expounds “It [the bill] streamlines water districts’ contract renewals, expedites water transfers and gives the Secretary of the Interior discretion to modify dam operations in the Central Valley Project (CVP) to provide reasonable water flows of suitable quality, quantity, and timing to protect migrating fish.”
McClintock offered these additional provisions of the legislation:
- Repeals the San Joaquin River Settlement. The legislation lays out a definitive plan to provide restoration flows to the river without harming CVP contractors.
- Establishes the Bureau of Reclamation as the lead for coordinating all reviews, permits, licenses, or other approvals or decisions (reviews) required under federal law to construct new surface water storage projects in the states covered under the Reclamation Act on lands administered by the Department of the Interior or Department of Agriculture.
- Amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to transfer the responsibility for administering the Act from the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.