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Public Statements

Conservation and Economic Growth Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. COSTA. I rise today to speak in opposition to the rule for H.R. 2578, the Conservation and Economic Growth Act.

First, I want to thank the gentlewoman from New York for allowing me some time to speak on what I think are some of the good things in this package. Unfortunately, I don't think this is the appropriate way we ought to be debating some elements of the challenging issues of immigration reform in the House of Representatives.

First, these bills should be taken on their individual merits, not as a package. If we consider them together, we should then have an open rule that would allow us to then debate the merits of each individual bill.

Some of the bills contained in H.R. 2578 are helpful to my constituents, and I've supported them in the past. As an example, the measure offered by Mr. Denham allows the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider spillway improvements on the project by the Merced Irrigation District. This would allow an expansion of the capacity of that reservoir. Some 1,800 feet of the Merced River would be impacted; but as a result of it, we would gain perhaps as much as 78,000 acre feet of additional water supply that is much needed in the San Joaquin Valley. That is a good portion of this package.

There are also other areas that I support, language within the bill, to provide certainty to the grazing community that I am an original cosponsor for: grazing land, public lands that provide opportunities for America's beef industry that is very essential and very important.

However, this bill also contains controversial provisions that would be damaging to my constituents. H.R. 1505 gives the Customs and Border Protection authority to waive numerous laws pertaining to Federal land management.

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Mr. COSTA. I thank the gentlewoman.

H.R. 1505, as I was indicating, would waive numerous laws that pertain to very important elements of not only the coastal zone, but mining, public health, safety, and public review within 100 miles of the U.S. border. I oppose this measure because it is too sweeping in its efforts.

This bill also portends to provide border security problems on land management laws. We have challenges with our border; there is no question about it. I've supported additional funding for the Border Patrol agency. We must protect our borders, but to do so in a land management bill simply makes no sense. We should be taking up comprehensive immigration reform separately from land management bills. That is, I think, the method that we ought to apply.

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