Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, reintroduced legislation Thursday to raise the authorization ceiling on the Central Utah Water project. A bill to do that died in the last Congress.
Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, reintroduced the CUP bill in the House Jan. 3, but under pressure of the Persian Gulf crisis the Senate did not allow legislation to be introduced until this week. Garn was able to drop the bill in while the senate was meeting to unanimously endorse support for U.S. troops involved in the Desert Storm operation.The CUP bill would add nearly $900 million to the $1.3 billion CUP has already cost, a total driven up by funding delays and inflation.
The identical House and Senate CUP bills omitted the reclamation reform provisions that scuttled the measure last fall. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Water and Power Subcommittee, will likely add those stiff reform amendments when the bill gets to his panel.
The reintroduced CUP bill reflects compromises reached between water users and environmental groups last year. Both Garn and Owens have said they hope Congress will act quickly on the measure.