U.S. House of Representatives passes Bowman Dam bill

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Central Oregon Jobs and Water Security Act (H.R. 2060).
   The legislation delivers needed water to Prineville for job creation, clears the way for clean energy at Bowman Dam, and creates new water conservation opportunities in central Oregon.
   “This is a good, commonsense, job-creating bill,” U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said. “The plan will create jobs in central Oregon, remove government red tape, protect family farmers, and improve water quality and flows for fish and wildlife, all without costing the federal taxpayer one penny. It is the culmination of years of collaboration between the city of Prineville, Crook County, farmers, the Warm Springs Tribes, and the Deschutes River Conservancy.”
   H.R. 2060 would clear the way for small-scale hydropower production at the base of Bowman Dam, creating about 50 jobs over the course of two construction seasons. It would also allow Prineville to utilize up to 5,100 acre feet of water from Prineville Reservoir, or about 6 percent of the total unallocated water behind the dam (80,000 acre feet).
   “Rep. Walden’s bill will allow us to have water for our businesses as our town continues to grow, and it doesn’t cost the government anything," said Crook County Judge Mike McCabe. "It gives us the hand up that we need so we can pursue other businesses with assurances that we’ll have the water resources they require. This is a good day for Prineville and Crook County.”
   "I want to thank Rep. Walden for his leadership in securing passage of this important bill," added Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe. "This bill will provide real benefits to our community and to the Crooked River. Our family farmers and ranchers will have the long-term water certainty they need to continue to produce wholesome food and agricultural products. Our city will secure additional water supplies for growth, and for our new businesses like Apple and Facebook. The bill also will accelerate steps for the restoration of McKay Creek, an important steelhead tributary. We are hopeful our Senators will join Rep. Walden in advancing legislation that meets the city’s interests this year.”
   The bill now awaits passage in the Senate, then approval by the President before becoming law.