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Public Statements

Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Improvement Act of 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the distinguished chairwoman of the subcommittee for moving this important bill forward. I would like to share with you and my esteemed colleagues the importance of the Upper Colorado River and San Juan River Basin Endangered Fish Recovery Program. This program is a premiere example of how to recover endangered fish species while also providing more than 3 million acre-feet of water per year to Federal, tribal, and non-Federal water projects. It has been cited as the most successful fish recovery program in the United States and is used as a model for other recovery programs developed across the country.

Today I am happy to see that the House is passing H.R. 2288, to ensure the program can finish the restoration projects identified for complete success. This bill extends the authorization of the program until the year 2023. At that time, the fish species in concern will be fully recovered, and the infrastructure will be in place to ensure continued success. The projects completed to date on the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins are examples of outstanding cooperation among a diverse group of local, State, Federal Government agencies, environmental groups, water users, farmers, ranchers, and utility consumers.

People ask why they've never heard of the recovery program, and that is because it has been so successful. The fish identified as being under threat have been substantially maintained. This bill is critical for the continued and final success of the projects necessary for recovery of the endangered fish.

I would also like to note that when this program was enacted, it was done with the understanding that power revenues would be used to pay for the costs of implementing the two fish recovery programs. Due to PAYGO rules, the legislation now lets the power customers only pay a part of the cost of these programs while national taxpayers cover the rest. The original program was agreed to based upon the understanding that power customers would pay for the fish recovery programs, and I hope that they will work with the rest of the parties to fulfill this funding obligation after 2011.

Mr. Speaker, this is a prime example of how one ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is one of the most successful recovery programs in the entire country, and I want to thank the chairwoman, and I want to thank Ranking Member McClintock for working with us on this legislation.

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