Final funding for the Central Utah Project is expected to get prompt attention in the U.S. House of Representatives next month, say Central Utah Water Conservancy District officials.
And, it is expected that the Senate attention will closely follow the House timetable, meaning the legislation should have President Bush's signature before the August recess.Don Christiansen, district manager, said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., acting head of the House Interior Committee, has indicated he wants little or no debate on the CUP legislation. The March hearings will instead focus on reclamation act reform and Grand Canyon protection legislation, which are being packaged with the CUP bill.
Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, who represents the 3rd District, has said he will offer amendments dealing with issues in Wasatch County and other areas of eastern Utah affected by the bill. Christiansen said the amendments are expected to be minor in detail and should have little impact on the overall legislation. He said copies of the proposed amendments are expected to be available early this week.
The CUP legislation won House approval in the waning hours of the last session of Congress only to die in the Senate as debate focused on the national budget crisis. The bill filed last month by Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, is identical to last year's bill.
Christiansen said the Senate version should be filed shortly with hearings set to follow two to three weeks behind the House timetable. He said Senate support appears to be solid since Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., threw his support behind the legislation. The package has also gained a nod of support from the White House.