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February 2011
Subscribe to Your Water – Metropolitan’s E–Newsletter.

New Legislative Sessions Begin

Every two years, the federal and state governments begin new legislative sessions, and elected officials introduce legislation that may impact water delivery service Metropolitan provides the nearly 19 million people that it serves. January 2011 marked the beginning of two-year sessions for both Congress and the State Legislature.

In Washington, D.C., Congress started out the year with a renewed focus on limiting government spending and reducing the deficit. This is translating into calls for regulatory reforms and budget cuts, which may mean reduced funding for several key federal agencies such as EPA, Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corp of Engineers that have historically funded water projects. In addition, Senator Inouye (D-HI) declared a two-year ban on "earmarks" (funding for specified projects). Thus, many water agencies seeking federal assistance may find it a challenging year to secure funding for specific projects in their regions. In the House, Congress has initiated a new budget philosophy called "cut as you go," which requires that the cost of any new program be offset with even greater budget cuts that will result in net savings for the federal government.

In California, Governor Brown is employing similar strategies to address the state's significant funding shortfall by considering a budget that dramatically reduces spending by $12.5 billion and proposing “vast and historic” restructuring of government operations.

Key water issues that remain a priority this year include implementing the 2009 Comprehensive Water Package -- legislation that furthers California’s co-equal goals of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability -- and renewing a 50-year contract for the low-cost, hydropower from Hoover Dam used to deliver Colorado River water to the 19 million Southern Californians who live and work in the Metropolitan 5,200 square mile service area.


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