Livestreams Next Week: Water Rights and Conservation Bills on Tuesday, Coal Ash Health Impacts in Puerto Rico, Vieques Compensation on Wednesday
Washington, D.C. – The Natural Resources Committee is holding three livestreamed events next week.
Tuesday, June 29
Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife
The Subcommittee, led by Chair Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), will hold a legislative hearing on the following bills:
- H.R. 1851 (Rep. Matthew Rosendale, R-Mont.), To establish a Federal cost share percentage for the Milk River Project in the State of Montana. St. Mary’s Reinvestment Act.
- H.R. 1869 (Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.), To amend the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 to make a technical correction to the water rights settlement for the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation, and for other purposes. Technical Correction to the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation Water Rights Settlement Act of 2021.
- H.R. 3877 (Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif.), To amend the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992 to authorize additional projects related to the Salton Sea, and for other purposes. Salton Sea Projects Improvements Act.
- H.R. 4099 (Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif.), To direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish a grant program to provide grants on a competitive basis to eligible entities for large-scale water recycling and reuse projects, and for other purposes. Large Scale Water Recycling Project Investment Act.
The hearing includes two bills related to the federal government’s trust responsibility to Tribes around California’s Salton Sea and to the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada and Idaho. The hearing will also focus on air pollution and public health impacts on environmental justice communities around the Salton Sea caused by limited water availability.
Panel I: Congressional Panel
- Rep. Grace Napolitano (H.R. 4099)
California, 32nd Congressional District
- Rep. Raul Ruiz (H.R. 3877)
California, 36th Congressional District
- Rep. Mark Amodei (H.R. 1869)
Nevada, 2nd Congressional District
- Rep. Matthew Rosendale (H.R. 1851)
Montana, At-Large District
Panel II: Administration Panel
- David Raff
Chief Engineer, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Panel III: Expert Witness Panel
- Deven Upadhyay
Assistant General Manager/Chief Operating Officer, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (H.R. 4099)
- John Entsminger
General Manager, Southern Nevada Water Authority (H.R. 4099)
- Frank Ruiz
Salton Sea Program Director, Audubon California (H.R. 3877 and H.R. 4099)
- Jennifer Patrick (Minority witness)
Project Manager, Milk River Irrigation Project (H.R. 1851)
- Minority witness on H.R. 1869 to be announced
When: 1:00 p.m. Eastern time
Watch Live: https://youtu.be/q_m9Fyhj3JA
Wednesday, June 30
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
The Subcommittee, led by Chair Katie Porter (D-Calif.), will hold an oversight hearing titled Toxic Coal Ash: Adverse Health Effects from the Puerto Rico Plant and Options for Plant Closure. The hearing will examine the ongoing health impacts of the AES power plant in Puerto Rico, which generates 300,000 tons of coal ash annually from burning coal for electricity.
Coal ash disposal has been rejected by Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and a community in Florida, leaving a landfill in Georgia as the only facility in the United States still willing to accept it. A barge full of ash on its way to Georgia ran aground in March, leaking thousands of tons of waste off the Florida coast and generating ongoing water and air contamination risks throughout the region. Exposure to coal ash is known to increase human risks for skin cancer, respiratory problems, heart problems, birth defects, and severe skin rashes, as CBS News reported in February of 2020.
The hearing will examine regulatory responsibility for closing the plant and directing the future of sustainable power generation in Puerto Rico.
Health damage from coal ash exposure has become a major issue both for public health advocates and corporate risk analysts. In a similar case with potential national implications, a jury found a contractor called Jacobs Engineering liable for coal ash cleanup crews’ declining health in November 2018, after which the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority noted that it may need to reimburse Jacobs for related costs. That trial has not yet concluded.
- Alberto Colon
Comunidad Guayamesa Unida por tu Salud
- Dr. Gerson Jimenez
Doctor of Internal Medicine, Guayama, Puerto Rico
- Ruth Santiago
Community and Environmental Attorney, Salinas, Puerto Rico
- David K. Owens
Vice Chairman, Board of Directors
Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority
When: 10:00 a.m. Eastern time
Watch Live: https://youtu.be/NTJrseAGWRQ
The Committee, led by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), will hold a legislative hearing on two bills to compensate the residents of Vieques for the chronic health and quality-of-life damage done by military operations there:
- H.R. 1317 (Rep. Nydia Velázquez), To provide compensation to certain residents of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, for the use of such island for military readiness, and for other purposes. Vieques Recovery and Redevelopment Act of 2021.
- H.R. 1126 (Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón), To provide compensation to certain residents of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, for the use of such island for military readiness, and for other purposes. Vieques Recovery and Redevelopment Act of 2021.
The U.S. Navy used Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, as a bombing range and training area for more than six decades, and has admitted to using heavy metals, depleted uranium, Agent Orange and other toxic substances during operations. It maintains a policy of denying any connection between its actions and the unusually poor health conditions of many Vieques residents, who have been without a functioning hospital since Hurricane Maria destroyed the previous hospital in 2017.
- Hon. José Corcino Acevedo
Mayor, Municipality of Vieques
- Myrna Pagán
Member, Vidas Viequenses Valen
When: 1:00 p.m. Eastern time
Watch Live: https://youtu.be/_Iq6Pe_2RaE
Media Contact: Adam Sarvana
(202) 225-6065 or (202) 578-6626 mobile
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