Once again, sadly, we are experiencing a water crisis in the Valley and in the West. We need to take advantage of this crisis and invest in creating a reliable water supply for our communities, farmers, and the planet. That’s why I am working to pass a once-in-a-century infrastructure package that invests in our future. Here are some highlights of my work:
Investing in our water infrastructure
To improve water storage and create better access to clean water, I partnered with Senator Feinstein to introduce the Canal Conveyance Restoration Act, which funds critical repairs to the Delta-Mendota Canal, the Friant-Kern Canal, and the California Aqueduct. Restoring these canals would improve California’s drought resilience and help farmers comply with limits on groundwater pumping under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
Bringing federal funding to our district is one of my top priorities. I am proud to announce that all myCommunity Funding requestswere included in this year’s Appropriations bill. If passed by the House and Senate, it would provide $11 million dollars to the counties of Fresno, Madera and Merced to complete water projects and fund jobs, health, and educational programs. Funding for water projects include the following:
$950,000 for the City of Gustine to finish the water loop line from North Avenue to East Avenue, which will create a more stable and safe water distribution system.
$500,000 to study the viability of a project to expand the single purpose Los Banos Creek into a multi-purpose reservoir, which would provide long-term solutions to flooding, drought, overdraft, and subsidence in Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties
$279,000 for the City of Dos Palos to replace a water clarifier at the city’s aging water plant to ensure uninterrupted service for residents.
I wanted Sec. Vilsack to see firsthand, farmers are innovating to build a sustainable food and water system while dealing prolonged drought that is hurting our farming communities and threatening the health of our economy. Don Cameron is a great example of implementing new technologies on his farm.
Modern farming techniques and repairing our aging water infrastructure will help us weather the impacts of climate change, but we need to act now to make it happen. Valley farmers feed the world and should be prioritized in the President’s infrastructure package. I will do everything I can to make that happen. We must remember growing food is a matter of national security.
Extending Disaster Assistance
Ag producers across the country have experienced severe weather conditions that have resulted in significant production and economic losses. I’m pleased to report, the House Agriculture Committee passed a bipartisan bill, H.R. 267 – The 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act to extend coverage to losses for 2020 and 2021 natural disasters and other purposes.
This legislation takes an important first step to address the following:
Provide supplemental assistance and bring more farmers into the crop insurance program;
Enable sugar and dairy cooperative members to access assistance;
Clarify eligibility of certain insured crops and enable USDA to simplify applications, and
Extend coverage for berry crops, tree fruits, wine grapes, pulse crops, dairy products, forage crops, nursery crops, and general livestock impacted by excessive heat and extreme weather events.
Expanding Broadband in Rural Communities
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important access to quality, high-speed internet is for Americans. Especially impacted are rural areas that still lag more populated communities in their ability to virtually connect with teachers, doctors, and other essential services.
My colleagues and I are working to ensure that investments in rural broadband remain a key priority in the bipartisan infrastructure package so that all Americans have access to broadband in the future.
Protecting the Food Supply Chain
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I remain committed to fighting for the future of the agriculture industry. Our hearing on “Protecting Food Supply Chains and Infrastructure”provided critical insight into the importance of our food supply system. It is important to examine innovative solutions to grow crops under a modified and highly conditioned environment.
This hearing marks a significant step towards modernizing our industry, enhancing automation in production, and maintaining optimal growing conditions. Looking forward it is critical to form public and private partnerships to ensure we can fund initiatives in the future.
Repairing the Beef Supply Chain
The shocks that our cattle industry has undergone in the last two years have impacted millions of people along the entire supply chain – from the cattle producer to the feeders, processors, retailers, and consumers. As Chair of the Subcommittee on Livestock & Foreign Agriculture, I chaired a hearing on the “State of the Beef Supply Chain: Shocks, Recovery, and Rebuilding.”
We heard from four expert witnesses on the vulnerabilities that lie in the beef supply chain, including the reduction in processing capacity, impacts of the pandemic, and recent cyberattacks. It is our job to get to the bottom of the most complex challenges confronting the ag industry and to help our farmers overcome these challenges.
Working together for the Valley
I welcomed U.S. Senator Alex Padilla to the Valley. During his visit, we joined Valley leaders at the Dos Palos Water Treatment Plant to discuss access to clean drinking water and rebuilding our water infrastructure. Additionally, we visited Friant Dam to discuss water conveyance infrastructure and the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, a long-term effort to restore flows to the San Joaquin River from Friant Dam to the confluence of Merced River.
We got a first-hand look at the impacts of the drought crisis during our visit to Del Bosque farms. Farmers across the Valley continue to struggle with the lack of access to water. But we remain committed to working together to secure federal funding for the Valley and deliver results to our farming communities. I want to thank Senator Padilla for his partnership and visit to the Valley!
New Portal – Bureau of Reclamation
The drought has been devastating and my staff is working daily to provide assistance to our communities. This new portal by the Bureau of Reclamation provides real-time drought-related information and details of drought actions taken in collaboration with stakeholders and partners. It is a helpful tool to get the latest information.
WEEG funding supports projects that result in quantifiable water savings, implement renewable energy components, and support broader sustainability benefits. The application is due November 3, 2021. Click here to apply!
EWRP funding supports sustainable projects that carry out an established strategy to increase the reliability of water resources. The application is due December 9, 2021. Click here to apply!
Do you need help with a Federal Agency?
If you can’t get an answer from a federal agency in a timely fashion, my district offices may be able to help resolve a problem or get you the information you need.
Residents of the 16th Congressional District of California can call or email us for assistance in dealing with federal agencies. Whether it’s the IRS, Social Security Administration, or any other federal agency, my office can help cut the red tape. Learn more about seeking help with a federal agency.
As we move forward, I will continue to work to advance your interests and address your concerns as I represent you in Washington. Please remember that I’m here to help. If my office can assist you, please contact us.