ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - May 24, 2005)
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Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to express my support of the House version of the Energy and Water Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2006, and I urge my colleagues to vote in support of this important measure.
I commend Chairman HOBSON and Ranking Member VISCLOSKY for their work on this bill. I believe it is a good start for addressing our nation's water infrastructure and energy research needs, especially given the budget constraints.
As a farmer who works the land in Colorado's San Luis Valley, I know and understand water issues, and I can't emphasize how important it is to invest back into local water infrastructure. Without this investment, I fear we will continue to see a decline in the management of this irreplaceable resource--water is the lifeblood of our rural communities.
The House Energy and Water Appropriations Bill would provide $29.7 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Energy, a $329 million increase over last year's funding level.
I am pleased the Committee included funding for three important projects which I had requested back in March for the 3rd District of Colorado. First and foremost, the Committee included $56 million in funding for construction of the Animas-La Plata Project. This funding level represents a $4 million increase over the President's budget request and comes on the heels of a Colorado delegation letter which I spearheaded back in March. I would also like to thank the Committee for the inclusion of language which directs a larger percentage of program funds towards construction, not administrative costs.
Completion of the A-LP will provide a much-needed water supply in the southwest corner of our state for both Indian and non-Indian municipal and industrial purposes. It will also fulfill the intent of a carefully negotiated settlement agreement in the mid-1980s to ensure the legitimate claims of the two Colorado Ute Tribes could be met without harm to the existing uses of their non-tribal neighbors.
Since 2002, the Bureau of Reclamation has made much progress, and work has been completed or initiated on many key project features. This increased funding will allow the Bureau to move forward in a way that will ensure timely completion of the A-LP and avoid costly delays.
The FY2006 Energy and Water Appropriations bill also includes $315,000 for the Arkansas River Habitat Restoration Project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in cooperation with the City of Pueblo, Colorado has completed 90 percent of the project including fish habitat structures along a 9-mile section of the river below Pueblo Dam through downtown Pueblo. This funding would be used to complete the project which is an important environmental restoration project for the project.
Finally, the Committee also provided a $1.021 million appropriation for the Army Corps of Engineers to engage in operations and maintenance at Trinidad Lake, Colorado; this amount represents almost a $100,000 increase from the FY2005 funding level. Trinidad Lake is a multipurpose project for flood control, irrigation and recreation, and was authorized by the 1958 Flood Control Act. The lake is located in southern Colorado on the Purgatoire River, and bordered by the historic Santa Fe Trail. The dam itself is an earthfill structure 6,860 feet long and 200 feet high, and constructed with some 8 million cubic yards of earth and rock.
Each project is an important part of improving water related infrastructure. As this bill proceeds through the appropriations process, I will continue the fight to preserve funding for the 3rd District of Colorado.
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