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Rep. Gosar Wants Increased Transparency @ Bureau of Reclamation

27 February 2015   steven D. Smith
Rep. Gosar Introduces Bill to Increase Transparency within Bureau of Reclamation

“Taxpayers deserve accountability from their government and oversight on how it spends their money” 

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing bipartisan legislation, the Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act, which would require the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to do a thorough inventory of its assets as well as prioritize major repairs necessary at the agency’s facilities:

“The practice of good governance requires periodic evaluations of federal programs and expenditures to review and prioritize their necessity. Taxpayers deserve accountability from their government and oversight on how it spends their money. Despite numerous requests from members of Congress and others, the agency has failed to provide adequate information about BOR’s maintenance backlog and lacks an efficient system for reporting their maintenance needs to Congress.

“Our good governance legislation increases transparency, consolidates multiple reports and requires the Bureau of Reclamation to open their books. I applaud Senator Barrasso and Senator Schatz for their leadership on this issue. Our commonsense bill will allow Congress to better prioritize funds for critical infrastructure projects for the purposes of ensuring an abundant supply of clean water and power for future generations.”

Senator John Barrasso, Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus, released the following statement following introduction of the bill:


“Aging water delivery systems make it harder for people in Wyoming and throughout the West to have access to a clean, abundant and reliable supply of water. Before we can move forward with modernizing these important systems, we need to have a better idea of what specific repairs are needed in our states. Our bill requires Washington to provide a detailed report of the work needed to keep our aging Bureau of Reclamation water facilities operating safely and effectively.”

 

Background

The full text of the Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act can be found HERE.

 

The Senate unanimously approved this bipartisan bill during the 113th Congress, with Senators Barrasso and Schatz ushering its passage. 

BOR provides essential services that benefit water and power users as well as our nation’s farmers. The agency delivers water to more than 30 million people and provides one in five Western farmers with water to irrigate their crops. BOR’s assets include more than 475 dams and dikes, and the agency is also responsible for the operations of 53 different hydroelectric power plants.  

21 bipartisan original cosponsors joined Congressman Gosar in introducing the House version of the Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act including Representatives Mark Amodei, Joe Barton, Matt Cartwright, Mike Coffman, Jeff Denham, Trent Franks, John Garamendi, Crescent Hardy, Joe Heck, Jared Huffman, Ann Kirkpatrick, Ted Lieu, Cynthia Lummis, Tom McClintock, Jeff Miller, Grace Napolitano, Steve Pearce, Matt Salmon, Krysten Sinema, Scott Tipton and Ryan Zinke.

The Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act would force the BOR to do an Infrastructure Needs Assessment Report every two years as part of the BOR’s existing Asset Management Plan reporting process. This Infrastructure Needs Assessment Report would be available to the public on BOR’s webpage. The report would include:

1)     An itemized list of major repair and rehabilitation needs at all federally managed BOR facilities and projects.

2)     A cost estimate of the expenditures needed to address those repairs.

3)     A categorical safety rating, using BOR’s own existing categorical system, of the importance of addressing each item.