Arizona Legislative Leaders Push Back On Drought Contingency Plan Deadline

By Claire Caulfield
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 10:48am
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 11:39am

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers warned Tuesday he won't be pressured by Gov. Doug Ducey into approving a drought contingency plan by a Jan. 31 deadline that he and other lawmakers have yet to see.

"I want language of the bill tomorrow,'' Bowers told Capitol Media Services following a press conference Ducey called in an effort to show bipartisan solidarity to adopt the yet-to-be-seen plan.

“And if he doesn't have them tomorrow, I'm adding a day,” Bowers said, referencing the Jan. 31 deadline.

That deadline was set by The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Arizona’s internal drought plan is just one part of a seven-state and multi-agency effort to address low water levels at Lake Mead, the main reservoir for the lower basin of the Colorado River.

If an official shortage is declared before a new agreement is signed, automatic cutbacks will be imposed on the basin states.

Senate Minority Leader David Bradley also said he does not intend for lawmakers to be stampeded into adopting something just to meet the deadline.

"While the DCP steering committee has spent months in delicate negotiations, the legislative language needs to be before our members and the stakeholders we represent as soon as possible to allow time for evaluation,''

"The Jan. 31 deadline is crystal clear,'' Bradley said. "But it should be equally clear that approval from the legislature is not to be taken for granted."

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