IA Times, May 2019

IA’s advocacy hits the ground running

As Congress ramps up its work on issues directly affecting all aspects of irrigation, the Irrigation Association is strategically partnering with other organizations to create a bigger impact on legislation that affects our members most. During April alone, the IA joined other associations throughout Washington, D.C., in leading the advocacy efforts on the following issues:

  • Endangered Species Act
  • U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement
  • H-2B guest worker program
  • WaterSense funding

Endangered Species Act

The IA is a Steering Committee member of the Western Agriculture and Conservation Coalition. The coalition, which is made up of national and state agricultural and conservation associations and nongovernmental organizations, recently sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barasso regarding the discussion draft of the legislation to reauthorize the Endangered Species Act. The letter, co-signed by the Arizona Cattle Grower’s Association, California Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, Family Farm Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Public Lands Council, Trout Unlimited and the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association, calls on the committee to focus on the following priority concepts:

  • Recovery (Section 202, State-Federal consultation relating to conservation and recovery of wildlife; Section 203, Recovery plans; Section 204, Recovery teams)
  • Conservation Agreements (Title III – Encouraging Conservation Activities Through Regulatory Certainty)
  • Full Disclosure (Sections 402 and 403, Title IV – Transparency)
  • Prioritization of Listing Determinations (Title V – Optimizing Conservation Through Resource Prioritization)
  • Studies to Improve Conservation (Title VI – Section 602 Conservation Factors and Section 603 ESA Expenditures)
  • Reauthorization (Title VII – Reauthorization)

The document is available for download.

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

IA CEO Deborah Hamlin, CAE, FASAE, is a board member of the National Association of Manufacturer’s Council of Manufacturing Associations. Through this leadership role, the IA is well-positioned to influence top White House officials and Congress on trade issues, such as the USMCA. In April, the IA officially joined the USMCA Coalition, made up of the top trade associations nationwide, supporting the congressional passage of the new USMCA. More information about the coalition can be found on its website.

H-2B guest worker program

After the decision by the Trump administration to release an additional 30,000 H-2B visas for returning workers, the IA joined hundreds of other national, state and local organizations and companies in not only thanking the administration for this decision but requesting that the Department of Homeland Security publish the rule in a timely manner to allow the guest workers the ability to obtain the visas as quickly as possible. The IA is a member of the national H-2B coalition, advocating for a sustainable H-2B program. The document is available for download.

WaterSense funding

Last year, the IA, along with water providers, nongovernmental organizations and allied industries, successfully lobbied Congress to authorize the WaterSense program as a permanent program in the Environment Protection Agency, affording the program to be funded directly by Congress. However, this year the Trump administration is once again requesting the elimination of the WaterSense program. The IA joined the Alliance for Water Efficiency and many other national, state and local organizations in signing a letter to the leadership of the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees, requesting that the WaterSense program be funded for fiscal year 2020 at the current funding level of $3.1 million or more. The IA fully supports the WaterSense program and looks forward to further engagement with Congress on its funding. The document is available for download.

If you have any questions regarding the IA’s advocacy activities, please contact IA Senior Government and Public Affairs Manager Sarah Roth (703.536.7080).