Senate’s final OK on bill clears the way for Cragin Dam projects
WASHINGTON – The Senate has passed and sent to the president a bill that should end years of confusion over which federal agency has jurisdiction over the C.C. Cragin Dam and Reservoir in Coconino County.
The bill, which passed late Tuesday night by unanimous consent, would give the Bureau of Reclamation the ability to approve projects on the Cragin Dam and and its pipelines, and it would let the Forest Service control the land and wildlife there.
Doing so clears the way for the town of Payson to spend $10.6 million in stimulus funds for pipeline projects to the dam. The 15,000-person town draws its water from the reservoir behind the dam.
This also looks to be a victory for freshman representative Paul Gosar:
Gosar, who sponsored the bill, said open lines of communication between all the parties affected by the legislation was a key element in passing the bill “even in this time of partisan bickering.”
It was partisan bickering that worried Evans most before the bill was passed. He said he feared it could have been lost in a logjam of legislation as Washington continued its battle over spending.
Similar bills sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Flagstaff, were introduced in previous legislative sessions but never made it as far as a floor vote. One of McCain’s offerings was awaiting a floor vote when Gosar’s legislation passed this week.
This will hopefully bring some new jobs to Arizona:
Payson Mayor Kenny Evans said that if President Barack Obama signs the bill, new jobs related to those pipeline projects could be created within 60 days. The permitting process can be done in weeks, he said.
And remember—when counting new jobs created, we cannot forget that new jobs created in one place create new economic activity elsewhere. Employed people need to grab some coffee and food on their way to work. They need someone to watch their kids when they have to work overtime. They might decide to take the family to the movies, now that they’re employed. Economic activity begets economic activity!
Here’s Rep. Gosar talking about the importance and impact of the Cragin Dam issue from a hearing a few months ago: