WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Friant Water Authority (FWA) Chief Executive Officer Jason Phillips provided expert testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water and Power. Phillips testified during a hearing to examine the Bureau of Reclamation’s title transfer process.
Phillip’s testimony focused on how transferring title ownership of Federal facilities to non-federal agencies such as FWA could benefit both water users and taxpayers alike. Title transfer of the Friant-Kern Canal – paid for by Friant Division contractors – would provide a critical asset water users could use to secure financial resources for major investments, such as addressing the severe subsidence problem plaguing southern portions of the canal.
“In other words, transferring title of the Friant Kern Canal to the Authority would not and likely could not, change the current operation of the facility, or saddle the Federal taxpayer with the cost of building the Canal – already repaid by Friant water users – or deprive the government of the revenues that the Canal will generate into the future. Instead, with a title transfer, Federal costs would decrease while the Authority’s ability to protect the original Federal investment in the project would increase,” said Phillips.
Phillips urged Congress to introduce legislation that facilitates title transfers in a way that would both safeguard the public and simplify the process, which many non-federal entities consider too burdensome to undertake.
“The problem is that the current title transfer process remains lengthy, overly complex, and costly for the non-federal parties. Time, cost, and uncertainty are powerful disincentives to undertaking a title transfer effort. Congress should act to appropriately focus the scope and implementation of permitting as they are applied to Reclamation title transfers,” said Phillips.
Phillips' written testimony is available here.
An archived video of Phillips' testimony is available at https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/1/subcommittee-on-water-and-power-hearing-to-examine-the-bureau-of-reclamation-s-title-transfer-process
FWA is a joint-powers authority formed in 2004 by a majority of the water agencies receiving water from the Friant Division of the Central Valley Project. Its primary purposes are to operate and maintain the Friant-Kern Canal and to serve the information and representation needs of its member agencies.
Contact: Alex Biering, firstname.lastname@example.org, 916-628-0431