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San Luis Unit of the Central Valley Project in California Statement on Signing H.R. 4390 Into Law.

June 16, 1977

I am pleased to sign H.R. 4390, a bill which marks a major step toward correcting deficiencies in past practices of the Bureau of Reclamation. It addresses the San Luis Unit of the Central Valley Project, in particular, the need to study and reform the water service contract in the Westlands Water District.

I am particularly pleased that the congressional delegation from the State of California has joined together to make this legislation a reality.

Recent investigations have shown that undue public subsidies to large landowners are occurring in the Westlands area. Even before the passage of this legislation, Secretary Andrus had already begun a review of the situation. This bill establishes the statutory framework for analyzing the problem and coming to a solution, while continuing construction on some of the project features during fiscal year 1978. It sets up an Interior Department Task Force, including representatives from the State of California, which will report back to the Congress on January 1, 1978. The investigation required by this bill should lay the foundation for the negotiation of a new Westlands Water District contract which will fully protect the interests of the people of the United States and will conform to all applicable law. In addition to assuring equitable prices for water, the Department will enforce acreage limitations to assure broad distribution of benefits and seek to promote sound groundwater management.

This important effort will be going on at the same time as my administration, under the leadership of Secretary Andrus, is developing far-reaching reform initiatives in water resource policy. Particularly in this drought year, it is apparent that we as a nation must ensure that our water resource policies reflect the urgent necessity for wise planning, water conservation, environmental protection, and equity for all water users.

I look forward to working with the Congress to build on their record of legislation such as this bill I am signing.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 4390 is Public Law 95-46, approved June 15.

Jimmy Carter, San Luis Unit of the Central Valley Project in California Statement on Signing H.R. 4390 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243792

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