Mr. MATHESON. I rise in support of H.R. 818, which would direct the Secretary of the Interior to allow for the prepayment of repayment contracts between the United States and the Uintah Water Conservancy District.
I would very much like to thank Chairmen Hastings and McClintock and Ranking Members Markey and Napolitano for their support in moving this bill through the Natural Resources Committee.
This is a commonsense bill that encourages and promotes fiscal responsibility at all levels of government. Allowing the Uintah Water Conservancy District to pay its debt obligations back early and in a timely manner is what we like to call a ``win-win'' in that it's finally beneficial to the local government and Federal Government alike.
It provides local government the ability to responsibly self-govern, giving it the flexibility to pay its loan off early and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in future interest payments. This savings will result in lower costs to the water users, which is very important as we continue to grow out of the current economic recession and look for additional ways to support much needed economic development in rural communities. Likewise, allowing for prepayment results
in a significant payment to the Federal Treasury.
As Congress continues to look for ways to trim the Federal budget and encourage best practices and good government policies, allowing for prepayment is a good model to follow. In addition, I believe this legislation provides a good opportunity to help rural communities prioritize and implement best practices to utilize scarce resources in an effort to meet rural water demands in a cost-effective and fiscally responsible manner.
I would also like to point out that there is precedence for allowing the prepayment of repayment contracts. H.R. 818 is similar to legislation used by the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, which allowed for the prepayment of the repayment contracts for the Bonneville Unit. This effort saved hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars and allowed for project managers to consider time and cost savings through a balanced approach to managing an important resource in my State.
H.R. 818 is the same bill that passed the House unanimously in the 111th Congress. It has also in this Congress been reintroduced in the Senate by my counterparts in the Utah delegation, Senators Hatch and Lee. I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this bill once again.