March 03, 2005

Craig, Crapo Bill To Help The Fremont-Madison Irrigation District Receives Senate Hearing

Bill would convey water titles from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Irrigation District

WASHINGTON, DC â?? Today the Energy and Natural Resources Committeeâ??s Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing on S. 520, the â??Fremont Madison Conveyance Act,â?? which is authored by Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig. The bill intends to convey title of the Cross Cut Dam and Canal, the Teton Wells, and the Idaho Department of Water Resources Permit number 22-7702 from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Fremont-Madison Irrigation District (FMID). FMID has maintained and controlled the facilities in question since they were built. This bill passed the Senate last year but Congress convened before it could be reconciled with a similar bill which passed the House of Representatives, sponsored by Representative Mike Simpson. There was no opposition to the bill during todayâ??s hearing. â??I am proud to again co-sponsor this bill with Senator Crapo,â?? Senator Craig, who is a member of the Water and Power Subcommittee, said. â??We have been working with the local stakeholders for years in crafting a bill all can agree to, and from the positive reception this bill received today, it appears we have succeeded. The collaboration between all the parties has been remarkable, and I think this bill should easily pass the Senate this year. As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I will work to make sure this bill is sent to the full Senate soon.â?? Crapo, who testified in favor of the legislation at this morning's hearing, said, "The District has managed these facilities since their creation in 1938 and, by all accounts, has done an excellent job of maintaining and operating these facilities. FMID also has a strong record of working within the community to manage the facilities in a manner that reflects and complements the unique ecological surroundings in which they reside. Over the past few years, representatives of the District have partnered aggressively with the local community, the Bureau, irrigators, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, and environmentalists to secure an ecologically-sensitive and cost-effective transfer. I commend all the parties for their work on such a delicate and complex process. I believe this legislation represents the fruits of that successful partnership. I look forward to continue working with all parties as this legislation proceeds through the legislative process." The bill must now be considered by the full Energy and Natural Resources Committee. There is also an identical bill, sponsored by Representative Mike Simpson and co-sponsored by Representative Butch Otter, being considered by the House of Representatives.[30]