House panel includes funding for Pinal farmers in bill
WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday to pass the fiscal year 2020 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies funding bill, which includes critical funding designed to support central Arizona farmers.
U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Tucson, led the effort to secure the funding from her position on the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee. The language included in the report provides $40 million in areas experiencing extended drought conditions, specifically for well construction projects that lead to conservation of surface water, such as the Pinal County infrastructure project included in the Arizona Drought Contingency Plan agreement.
“I am pleased that the language and funding I worked on with my committee has been included in the Energy and Water Funding report,” Kirkpatrick said in a press release.
“Local farmers and communities, and the state, have stepped up to make the DCP work and know we need the federal government to do its part to support this effort. My language provides an ideal tool to fund a significant portion of the infrastructure project in central Arizona, and I look forward to working with the bureau to see this through to a successful completion. I’m committed to helping our state address severe and long-standing drought conditions and to supporting the economic vitality of farmers in the state.”
Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Sedona, said the provision is a great step toward meeting the goals of the DCP.
“Improving the flexibility of conservation programs is critical to ensuring DCP agreements are implemented,” O’Halleran said. “I am pleased that we were able to come together to address this, not only for my constituents in Pinal County, but for all Arizonans. I look forward to continuing to work to secure tools that will help Arizona become more drought resilient.”
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, said it remains critical that the nation invest in water conservation and water infrastructure.
O’Halleran and Gosar represent portions of Pinal County.
“This is an important step toward implementation of the DCP in Arizona and has the potential to provide Pinal County farmers with the federal funding necessary to complete the groundwater infrastructure project that was a central element of the state’s plan, said Pinal County Supervisor Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande.
A summary of the Energy and Water Development bill is available at https://appropriations.house.gov/news/press-releases/appropriations-committee-releases-fiscal-year-2020-energy-and-water-funding-bill.