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Senator Michael Bennet Welcomes Beaudreau and Touton to Hear from Colorado Water Users

Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, who is Chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry, and Natural Resources, welcomed Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau and Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton to Colorado to see the drought conditions in the Colorado River Basin. He has arranged for them to hear first-hand from Colorado water users living with the driest conditions in 1,200 years.

The Colorado River. Image courtesy of The Guardian

“The West has not been this dry in 1,200 years and people in every corner of our state are feeling the effects of this crisis,” said Bennet. “I’m grateful Deputy Secretary Beaudreau and Commissioner Touton accepted my invitation to visit the Western Slope to hear from Colorado water users about what they are doing to respond to these severe drought conditions.”

This morning,  Bennet, Beaudreau, and Touton did a flyover hosted by the Colorado River District and EcoFlight, to see the drought conditions on the Colorado River Basin from the air. Bennet will also host Beaudreau and Touton for a listening session with Colorado water users to discuss the challenges they have faced due to drought and the ways they are adapting to a drier climate.

Last week, Bennet led a group of Colorado and New Mexico lawmakers in urging BOR to prioritize funding for long-term, permanent solutions to the drought crisis in the Colorado River Basin as it allocates $4 billion in new funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to address Western drought fueled by climate change.

As the American West faces extreme drought, Bennet secured $4 billion in the IRA to address western drought by funding water conservation, habitat restoration, and mitigation. The IRA also includes a $370 billion investment to fight climate change, including $25 billion for forestry, conservation, and environmentally friendly farming, which falls under Bennet’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry, and Natural Resources.

In June, Bennet chaired a subcommittee hearing to sound the alarm on the Western water crisis. Last year, he worked to secure a historic investment in western water infrastructure in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to counter the drought impacts of climate change.