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Energy Committee advances two Barrasso water bills


U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) praised the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for passing two Barrasso water bills, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) Transparency Act S. 216 and S. 199, a bill that would expand the water storage capacity of the Fontenelle Reservoir in Wyoming.

“Today, the committee passed two important bills that will help improve the way we manage water in the West,” said Barrasso. “Aging water systems make it harder for people in Wyoming and throughout the West to have access to a clean, abundant and reliable supply of water. Before we can move forward with modernizing these systems, we need to have a better idea of what specific repairs are needed in our states. The BOR Transparency Act requires Washington to provide a detailed report of the work needed to keep our aging Bureau of Reclamation water facilities operating safely and effectively.

“Additionally, expanding water storage in southwest Wyoming will give our farmers, ranchers and communities a reliable supply of water in order to keep their livestock and crops healthy. This bill will finally help move the much-needed Fontenelle Reservoir expansion project forward, paving the way for Wyoming to further develop its water rights.”


Senator Barrasso and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) reintroduced the bipartisan Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act (S. 216) on January 24, 2017. The bill requires the Secretary of the Interior to submit a report every two years on the maintenance backlog of the Bureau of Reclamation to Congress. The legislation would help to provide a detailed assessment of the major repair and rehabilitation needs of Bureau of Reclamation-owned and managed sites and projects. The bill also asks the bureau to develop a similar assessment for sites that are owned by the bureau, but managed by other entities.

Senator Barrasso reintroduced S. 199 on January 24, 2017. The bill allows for the expansion of water storage at the Bureau of Reclamation’s Fontenelle Reservoir in Lincoln County. The bill directs the state of Wyoming and the BOR to reach an agreement to allow Wyoming to complete the rip rap around the reservoir. The state of Wyoming would pay for the cost of completing this project. Wyoming would also have a right to the water stored in the reservoir if the reservoir is completed by building the rip rap.


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