Friday, July 31, 2015

Paul Cook's Newsletter Misrepresents What HR 2898 is about--

The Congressional Budget Office says  []

1) H.R. 2898 would direct the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to convert water service contracts with water districts in 17 western states to repayment contracts if a contractor requests it. Water users that choose to convert their contracts would be required to accelerate repayment of their share of the capital costs of constructing the affected projects. Under the bill, existing repayment contractors would have the option to repay their share of capital costs on an accelerated schedule.
Based on information from the BOR, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would reduce direct spending by a total of $883 million over the 2016-2025 period. Under the bill, offsetting receipts, which are treated as reductions in direct spending, would increase by $721 million over the next 10 years from accelerated repayments (net of annual payments that would otherwise occur under current law).  Comment: No one is saying IF the water service contractors can afford this nor how much it will increase water costs or increase our water bills!
2) H.R. 2898 also would repeal the authority to implement the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act (SJRRSA) which CBO estimates would reduce federal costs by $162 million over the next several years. Comment: So the environmental policies passed into law to protect our fisheries and water supplies are getting repealed
3) Additionally, because the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) expects nonfederal contractors would finance accelerated payments with bonds exempt from federal taxation, they estimate that enacting the legislation would lead to a decrease in revenues of $89 million over the 2016-2025 period. COMMENT: Sounds good until you realize, the bill does not say from WHAT programs the money be taken nor does it say that there are bonds and a market for same!!

4) H.R. 2898 also would allow the BOR, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to respond to drought conditions in western states by authorizing appropriations for projects to store water and by accelerating reviews of permit applications and environmental studies for new water projects. The bill also would decrease amounts authorized to be appropriated by repealing the SJRRSA. Based on information from those agencies, and assuming the appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase discretionary spending by $398 million over the 2016-2020 period and by $784 million over the next ten years. COMMENT: Sounds good until you realize, the bill does not say from WHAT programs the money be taken!!
5) H.R. 2898 would impose intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) by preempting the ability of the State of California to enforce its own water management and wildlife preservation laws. Comment: Cook uses federal law to wipe out control of intra-state water resources--so much for Californians right to govern!

Paul Cook's HR 3176 Vote Shows he doesn't talk with forestry resource people enough

On the forest legislation (HR 3176) I wrote to Paul Cook "aren't you passing more unnecessary legislation and ignoring the real problem--not enough officers and scientists in federal service to protect our natural assets. Passing more laws without trained people to enforce them is symbolic and a waste of paper (more trees). Our forests are dying from arsonists, yes....but the long term killers have been bark beetles (imported from foreign lumber products we did not adequately inspect for infection of because of budget cuts), midget mistle toe (from imported nursery stock and changing Ph in the soils from concrete-type wastes), fugitive dust caused by developers and grading to knock down weeds and fewer grazing animals (deer etc). We need policies that create a healthier forest. HR 3176 is not that".