October 19, 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed a memorandum in Scottsdale, Arizona, on promoting a reliable supply and delivery of water in the western United States. During the signature of the memorandum President Trump mentioned the Klamath Irrigation Project.
“The Klamath Irrigation Project in Oregon and the Columbia River Basin in Washington — all of these states benefit tremendously in terms of jobs, in terms of the environment. I think it’s important to say “the environment.”
The memorandum directed to the Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of the Army, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality directs them through policy to - Reduce regulatory burdens, improve water reliability, and protection of endangered species.
Below is a summary of the memorandum, copies of the remarks stated during the signing of the memorandum, as well as a copy of the memorandum.
Summary of the Memo
REDUCING REGULATORY BURDENS:
President Donald J. Trump’s Administration is reducing regulatory burdens that harm reliable water access in the West.
President Trump is signing a memorandum to reduce regulatory burdens and promote more efficient environmental reviews of water infrastructure projects in the West.
Decades of uncoordinated regulatory actions have diminished the ability of Federal infrastructure to deliver needed water and have increased costs in the West.
Court actions dictating water operations have further complicated the regulatory environment.
The President is directing the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce to:
Streamline regulatory processes and remove unnecessary burdens.
Develop a timeline for completing compliance requirements for major water projects.
Responsibly expedite ongoing environmental reviews.
Convene water experts and resource managers to develop an action plan for improving seasonal forecasts of water availability.
Expand the use of technologies to improve the delivery of water and power.
Consider the views of local operators during hydroelectric relicensing proceedings.
IMPROVING WATER RELIABILITY:
President Trump is working to increase water reliability for families, farmers, and cities across the West.
President Trump is committed to ensuring Western communities have the water supplies they need to maintain our economic prosperity.
Federal water projects in the West irrigate millions of acres of farmland, provide water and power to millions, and support more than $48 billion in economic activity.
The President’s memorandum will benefit major water infrastructure projects in order to more effectively meet the demands of water users in California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
The Administration will expedite biological opinions for the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project in California, Klamath Irrigation Project in Oregon, and the Federal Columbia River System in the Pacific Northwest.
Expedited regulatory processes will provide certainty for California farmers who need more water to restore farmlands crippled by drought and regulation.
PROTECTING ENDANGERED SPECIES:
The President’s memorandum will ensure a timely review process without compromising environmental protections under the Endangered Species Act.
The memorandum establishes timelines for environmental reviews of infrastructure projects, allowing the best information to guide conservation of endangered or threatened species.
The timelines allow for robust environmental review processes.
Agencies will make determinations regarding endangered and threatened species based on the best available scientific and commercial data.
Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Presidential Memorandum to Promote the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Palomino Conference Center, Scottsdale, Arizona, 12:47 P.M. MST
THE PRESIDENT: So this is a big day for the Central Valley, California. And I want to thank everybody for being here. This is a vital action. In my opinion, it’s vital to improve access to water in the American West.
What’s happened there is disgraceful. They’ve taken it away. There’s so much water, they don’t know what to do with it, and they send it out to sea. For decades, burdensome federal regulations have made it extremely difficult and expensive to build and maintain federal water projects. You all know about that.
Millions of Americans in the West depend on critical water infrastructure to irrigate farmland, provide water and power, and support our economy. Some of the best farmland in the world, by the way, can’t be used because they don’t have water. But they actually have a lot of water.
In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to dramatically improve the reliable supply and delivery of water in California, Oregon, and Washington.
We are honored to be joined by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Where is Kevin? Come here, Kevin. He traveled a long way to be here. And Representatives Devin Nunes, Jeff Denham, David Valadao, and Tom McClintock. These are tremendous people. They love this country. They love the state. And I appreciate you all being here. Thank you, fellas. This is very important.
And they are the ones that really led this drive because it was — it was so unfair. I was telling the story that I was with Devin, driving up this beautiful highway, and I’m looking at farmland. And it was bone dry. And they’d have a little patch — just a little patch in the corner of such beautiful green. A tiny percentage of this massive area. And then I’d go step further, and you’d see another one. Big, big area. Hundreds of acres. And you’d have just a little patch.
And I said, “Could I ask a question? Do you have a drought? Is there a problem?” “No, we don’t have a drought. We have so much water, but they don’t let the water come down into the valley and into the areas where you need the water.”
And I said, “I’ve never seen anything — what do they do?” “They route it into the Pacific Ocean.” And I say, “Why do they do that?” And the reason — I don’t even want to discuss it, it’s so ridiculous.
But you have so much water coming from way up north. And you’ll have — Devin told me this, numerous people told me this — the best farmland, potentially in the world, if you had water. The land itself — the soil — gives you the best farmland, I’ve heard, in the world. What that could mean for California and for the economy of California — because you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of acres of land where the water is so plentiful and the land is the best there is. So I’ve heard that from many different farmers.
So today, I’m directing Secretary Zinke and Secretary Wilbur Ross to streamline approvals for federal water infrastructure and to eliminate all unnecessary burdens, significantly speeding up the environmental review and approval process. We will have it done very, very quickly.
We’re also speaking to the EPA, and they’re all ready to go. As soon as I sign this, they’re ready to go.
So the big problem was the federal approvals. They were un-gettable and now they’re very gettable. We’re going to have them in very fast time because of the gentlemen standing behind me. Nobody else brought it up to my attention; it was them.
In particular, we will resolve the issues blocking completion of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project in California. And this will be done within a record period of time. Nobody will ever see anything like this.
Because it’s basically been looked at — I don’t know if you guys — for years. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent looking at it. But that’s all they do; they look. Nobody does anything about it.
The Klamath Irrigation Project in Oregon and the Columbia River Basin in Washington — all of these states benefit tremendously in terms of jobs, in terms of the environment. I think it’s important to say “the environment.”
Together, we rebuild our water infrastructure. We’ll do something that hasn’t been done in — how many years has that been since we’ve done a project like that?
REPRESENTATIVE DENHAM: 1979.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. That’s a long time. And this is even bigger. This is a bigger impact than anything they’ve done, even from 1979. And make our communities more beautiful places to live, and work, and grow. And make them so environmentally incredible.
And so it’s a great honor to be signing the new memorandum, and this will move things along at a record clip. And you have a lot of water. I hope you enjoy the water that you’re going to have. Okay? (Laughter.) The farmers are going to enjoy it. Great for the farmers. Great for the people. Great for recreation. Great for everything you can think of.
And now, the next time I ride up that road, I think we’re going to see a lot of green. It’s going to be 100 percent green instead of 4 percent green.
So I’ll sign it right now.
(The presidential memorandum is signed.)
Presidential Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
THE SECRETARY OF COMMERC
THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY
THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY
THE CHAIR OF THE COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Subject: Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Policy.
During the 20th Century, the Federal Government invested enormous resources in water infrastructure throughout the western United States to reduce flood risks to communities; to provide reliable water supplies for farms, families, businesses, and fish and wildlife; and to generate dependable hydropower. Decades of uncoordinated, piecemeal regulatory actions have diminished the ability of our Federal infrastructure, however, to deliver water and power in an efficient, cost‑effective way.
Unless addressed, fragmented regulation of water infrastructure will continue to produce inefficiencies, unnecessary burdens, and conflict among the Federal Government, States, tribes, and local public agencies that deliver water to their citizenry. To meet these challenges, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce should, to the extent permitted by law, work together to minimize unnecessary regulatory burdens and foster more efficient decision-making so that water projects are better able to meet the demands of their authorized purposes.
Sec. 2. Streamlining Western Water Infrastructure Regulatory Processes and Removing Unnecessary Burdens.
To address water infrastructure challenges in the western United States, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall undertake the following actions:
(a) Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall:
(i) identify major water infrastructure projects in California for which the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce have joint responsibility under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) (Public Law 93-205) or individual responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (Public Law 91-190); and
(ii) for each such project, work together to facilitate the designation of one official to coordinate the agencies’ ESA and NEPA compliance responsibilities. Within the 30-day time period provided by this subsection, the designated official shall also identify regulations and procedures that potentially burden the project and develop a proposed plan, for consideration by the Secretaries, to appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind any regulations or procedures that unduly burden the project beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law. For purposes of this memorandum, “burden” means to unnecessarily obstruct, delay, curtail, impede, or otherwise impose significant costs on the permitting, utilization, transmission, delivery, or supply of water resources and infrastructure.
(b) Within 40 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall develop a timeline for completing applicable environmental compliance requirements for projects identified under section 2(a)(i) of this memorandum. Environmental compliance requirements shall be completed as expeditiously as possible, and in accordance with applicable law.
(c) To the maximum extent practicable and consistent with applicable law, including the authorities granted to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (Public Law 114-322):
(i) The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall ensure that the ongoing review of the long-term coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project is completed and an updated Plan of Operations and Record of Decision is issued.
(ii) The Secretary of the Interior shall issue final biological assessments for the long-term coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project not later than January 31, 2019.
(iii) The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall ensure the issuance of their respective final biological opinions for the long-term coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project within 135 days of the deadline provided in section 2(c)(ii) of this memorandum. To the extent practicable and consistent with law, these shall be joint opinions.
(iv) The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall complete the joint consultation presently underway for the Klamath Irrigation Project by August 2019.
(d) The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall provide monthly updates to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and other components of the Executive Office of the President, as appropriate, regarding progress in meeting the established timelines.
Sec. 3. Improve Forecasts of Water Availability.
To facilitate greater use of forecast-based management and use of authorities and capabilities provided by the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-25) and other applicable laws, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall convene water experts and resource managers to develop an action plan to improve the information and modeling capabilities related to water availability and water infrastructure projects. The action plan shall be completed by January 2019 and submitted to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.
Sec. 4. Improving Use of Technology to Increase Water Reliability.
To the maximum extent practicable, and pursuant to the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act (Public Law 102-575, title XVI), the Water Desalination Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-298), and other applicable laws, the Secretary of the Interior shall direct appropriate bureaus to promote the expanded use of technology for improving the accuracy and reliability of water and power deliveries. This promotion of expanded use should include:
(a) investment in technology and reduction of regulatory burdens to enable broader scale deployment of desalination technology;
(b) investment in technology and reduction of regulatory burdens to enable broader scale use of recycled water; and
(c) investment in programs that promote and encourage innovation, research, and development of technology that improve water management, using best available science through real-time monitoring of wildlife and water deliveries.
Sec. 5. Consideration of Locally Developed Plans in Hydroelectric Projects Licensing.
To the extent the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce participate in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing activities for hydroelectric projects, and to the extent permitted by law, the Secretaries shall give appropriate consideration to any relevant information available to them in locally developed plans, where consistent with the best available information.
Sec. 6. Streamlining Regulatory Processes and Removing Unnecessary Burdens on the Columbia River Basin Water Infrastructure.
In order to address water and hydropower operations challenges in the Columbia River Basin, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Energy, and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works under the direction of the Secretary of the Army, shall develop a schedule to complete the Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement and the associated Biological Opinion due by 2020. The schedule shall be submitted to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality within 60 days of the date of this memorandum.
Sec. 7. General Provisions.
(a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(d) The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
DONALD J. TRUMP