Industry Leaders Applaud Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
IRVINE, CA - We here at ANUK have been keeping a close eye on the movement of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and yesterday, the bill received President Joe Biden’s signature, dedicating more than $8 billion for projects that will enhance water supply reliability across the West. In response, a national coalition representing thousands of Western farmers, ranchers, businesses, and rural and urban water providers issued statements declaring it a victory for Western water users and calling on the administration to clear the path for projects that will address critical water supply needs.
“We urge the administration to quickly drive implementation of the Western water provisions. Time, like water, is in short supply,” said Western Growers President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Puglia. “We cannot let red tape and activist litigation stall or block the many long overdue projects necessary to repair and enhance our aging water infrastructure and develop reliable new sources of water supply.”
United Fresh President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Stenzel was present at the White House ceremony as President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law.
“United Fresh has worked with the administration and bipartisan Congressional leaders to pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill,” Stenzel noted. “The new law will provide critical improvements to support the fresh produce supply chain, including roads, bridges, ports, and vitally needed western state water infrastructure investment. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration and Congress to ensure consumers have access to our safe, healthy, and nutritious products. This law is a strong step in the right direction.”
The $8 billion in funding will go toward critical water supply projects, including repairing aging dams and canals, building new surface and groundwater storage and conveyance facilities, funding water conservation and recycling projects, and improving watershed and ecosystem management, a press release noted.
California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson echoed the sentiments of Puglia and Stenzel.
“Amid the searing drought across the West and another catastrophic wildfire season, the $8 billion investment included for water infrastructure investments comes at a critical time. We are appreciative of the bipartisan investment that has been made in new and aging infrastructure as well as water conveyance facilities. Farmers can now look forward to long-needed infrastructure enhancements necessary to produce a safe and reliable food supply,” said Johansson.
National Water Resources Association President Christine Arbogast also commented on the infrastructure investment.
"Water is the cornerstone of our economic and ecological wellbeing. We are grateful to Congress and the Administration for their efforts to enact this historic bipartisan legislation. It will benefit every American as well as future generations by making critical investments in our nation's water infrastructure," Arbogast stated.
Other industry leaders also applauded the legislation, including David Eggerton, Executive Director of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), who noted the importance of the historic investment.
“The ACWA applauds this bipartisan commitment to invest in water infrastructure on a historic scale which will provide western water managers with valuable resources for storage, conveyance, recycling, ecosystem, and dam safety projects. Today represents a milestone in our nation’s collective ability to achieve water infrastructure resilience and ensure a safe, reliable, and high-quality supply of water now and for future generations,” he said.
Dan Keppen, Family Farm Alliance Executive Director, also issued a statement regarding the federal funding.
“This is a great victory for Western water users. The Western water provisions included in this legislation represent a once-in-a-generation federal investment that will bolster our aging water infrastructure and keep water flowing to our nation’s farms and ranches. It will also improve our ability to provide water supply reliability for cities and the environment in future droughts,” Keppen said.
We will keep an eye out to see how this pivotal funding will bolster the fresh produce industry. To read the latest industry news, keep clicking on AndNowUKnow.