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 PRESS RELEASE: House Committee on Resources 3/1/06

Bureau of Reclamation and USGS Budget Review

Washington, DC- The Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold an oversight hearing on the Administration's FY 2007 budget requests for the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey's Water Division. The hearing will convene tomorrow, Thurs., March 2, at 10:00 a.m. in 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

The focus of the hearing will be on funding the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and what impacts this budget and aging Reclamation projects may have on local communities.

"Reclamation is at a crossroads in its history," said Subcommittee Chairman George Radanovich (R-CA). "Reclamation's infrastructure continues to age, operations and maintenance costs continue to rise, and debate continues on about Reclamation's future direction. What I want is Reclamation to be a "lean and mean" organization that is accountable to the American taxpayer, its customers and Congress."

Reclamation, established in 1902 to help promote the development of the West, is responsible for large-scale public works projects including dams, reservoirs and canals. The USGS Water Resources program collects and analyzes data to evaluate the quantity, quality and use of the Nation's water resources.

"In the Western states, Reclamation is the link between the water resources and the people," said Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA). "Especially in California, when we discuss water sources we are really talking about our water supplies. This hearing will focus on ways we can increase these supplies and out hydroelectricity resources."

"It is crucial that we have an adequate water supply in order to meet the irrigation needs of our agricultural community," said Subcommittee Vice-chair Cathy McMorris (R-WA). "I am deeply concerned about water reliability in the Columbia Basin Project in Washington State, specifically the Odessa Sub-area that is impacting the future of farming in this area. I have listened to many people with concerns about water shortages and will continue to be part of the solution to help meet our water needs."

The Subcommittee members will hear testimony from John Keys III, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation at the Department of Interior, as well as from Dr. Matthew Larsen, Chief Scientist for Hydrology at the USGS at Interior.

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