Bipartisan Group of Western Senators Encourage Drought Legislation from Energy and Natural Resources Committee

A bipartisan group of nine senators from Western states, led by U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), sent a letter to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (ENR) leadership requesting continued work on drought legislation to aid the region. 

“Over the past several months, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee has shown both the desire and capacity to tackle drought head-on, holding three hearings and reporting a number of water and drought-related bills out of committee,” said the letter, which was addressed to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), chairman of the ENR, and ranking member U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “We hope that the momentum will continue unabated.” 

The letter pointed out that 75 percent of the country’s Western region was subjected to drought conditions in 2015, an area that covers a population of 93 million Americans. It was co-signed by U.S. Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Dean Heller (R-NV), Tom Udall (D-NM), Steve Daines (R-MT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). 

“As you are aware, reliable access to water is fundamental to western economies. We stand ready to continue to work with you to meet this challenge,” said the letter. “We are hopeful that the committee can successfully advance, through regular order, drought legislation that will ultimately be signed into law. We are ready to work with you to achieve that goal.”