Letter Conveys Support For Water Delivery Legislation
During the week of July 13. the NCC sent a letter in support of the Western Water and American Food Security Act (H.R. 2898) to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Valadao (R-CA), as well as its co-sponsors, Reps. Costa (D-CA), Denham (R-CA), LaMalfa (R-CA), McCarthy (R-CA) and Nunes (R-CA).
July 13, 2015
The Honorable David Valadao
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative Valadao,
On behalf of the National Cotton Council (NCC), I am writing in support of the H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act. The NCC is the central organization of the United States cotton industry. Its members include producers, ginners, cottonseed processors and merchandizers, merchants, cooperatives, warehouses and textile manufacturers. A majority of the industry is concentrated in 17 cotton-producing states stretching from Virginia to California. NCC represents producers who cultivate between 9 and 14 million acres of cotton. Annual cotton production, averaging approximately 18 million 480-lb bales, is valued at more than $5 billion at the farm gate. The downstream manufacturers of cotton apparel and home furnishings are located in virtually every state. Farms and businesses directly involved in the production, distribution and processing of cotton employ more than 230,000 workers and produce direct business revenue of more than $27 billion. Accounting for the ripple effect of cotton through the broader economy, direct and indirect employment surpasses 420,000 workers with economic activity well in excess of $120 billion. In addition to the cotton fiber, cottonseed products are used for livestock feed, and cottonseed oil is used as an ingredient in food products as well as being a premium cooking oil.
California's Central Valley cotton acres, at a recent high of 456,000 cotton acres in 2011, have steadily declined to only 161,000 acres this year. This area has been suffering from a severe drought, which has only been made worse by federal regulations. As a result, over 300 billion gallons of water have been diverted away from the region in an effort to protect the Delta Smelt. Today, farmers in the Central Valley are receiving less water, if any at all, than they previously contracted for and purchased and the result is thousands of acres of fallowed farmland. These actions, and the resulting decline in cotton acres, are creating dire economic consequences for cotton producers and the entire cotton infrastructure in California.
We have supported your previous efforts to find a workable solution to this dire situation and support your introduction of this bill. This bill would ensure reliable water deliveries for the valley, secure private property and senior water rights, and save millions of dollars by ending wasteful protectionist plans. The bill also requires regulators to substantiate claims with scientific evidence. To ensure water reliability in the future, the bill obligates the federal government to complete feasibility studies for multiple water storage projects in California and increases the scope of investigation for dam safety throughout the West, including expansion.
We are hopeful this legislation is the first step to addressing the water supply challenges our farmers face. We look forward to working with you on advancing this legislation.
Vice President, Washington Operations
cc:The Honorable Jim Costa
The Honorable Jeff Denham
The Honorable Doug LaMalfa
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
The Honorable Devin Nunes