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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 8, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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so we got to have full visibility on their program and that goes on for, i think 25 years. of that kind of inspection. i think that will give us some degree of assurance that we will know if they cheat. >> thank you i will interject that was a good line of questions preciate it. there is -- it's called the iranian nuclearevelopment program. it's a document that outlined that. for some reason the administration will not share it with us. i've asked both at the energy level, the secretary of state level, and the chief of staff and the president. so i think that there are legitimate concerns about what happens after year ten and it makes me concerned that they're unwillingness to share that with us means they think it's
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something that will undermine the american people's confidence in what they're doing. so hopefully they'll be forthcoming with that soon, senator gardner. >> thank you for being here today. ambassador's testimony, there was a quote that i'll read here. once sanctions are removed iran will be the beneficiary of some unfreezing of assets. the oil revenues will increase by some $24 billion annually. it is reasonably to assume that wind fall will be helping iran's economy. it is an equally safe bet the iranian revolutionary guard corp and the iranian armed forces will be beneficiaries too. do we know -- do you know what the amount that iran sponsors terrorism at the level of funding that they actually contribute to funding of hezbollah and other terrorist organizations?
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>> it runs by the estimates i've seen to the tens of billions. if you put in the syrian opposition. >> we think it's around $10 million or so. according to reports -- >> billions, sir. >> billions i'm sorry. >> not $200 billion but probably in the $10 billion to $20 billion range. >> okay. and the economy is going to turn around, would this encourage them -- would they stop once it got them to turn around from funding that line item? >> it is almost inconceivable from any analogy or historical example i've seen if it comes upon further resources would ratchalet back. they will double down and try harder. it doesn't mean they'll use most of that money because they do have pressing domestic needs.
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they have a lot of popular pressure to spend more on a consumer economy. some of that will flow to the domestic side. but, clearly some of it will flow almost by all evidence we've seen with iran and other countries towards their nefarious activities in the region. >> these activities won't make israel more safe as a result of this agreement and a growing economy, is that correct? >> they won't make anybody including iranians safe in the end. >> thank you, ambassador. and in your testimony, you stated that any agreement should be judged not on the beige of his verifiable restraints in iran but alsothal context in which it would operate. and a far more active u.s. program to contain iran's asymmetrical military diplomatic moves to expand its influence in the region.
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the president has talked that we can't back away now. could you explain that remark a little bit further? >> to the extent i can, because the president said several different things. officially he said he will use all necessary measures if iran to break out to a nuclear weapon. he also said he doesn't think that a military solution is going to buy you very much. he said the other day to an israeli journalist it would give you a temporary stop. that is true. but we've seen military force before against iraq three times by the israelis and by us in 1991 and by us in 1998 lead to the termination of weapons of mass destruction programs. we saw it in the case of israel striking syria. after 2003 when we went into iraq, that's when the iranians halted their weaponization program and it's when the libyan libyans decided it was time for them to give up their programs. military force can have an
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effect beyond how many targets you hit and how long it will take to reconstitute. it does have a political influence on the other side. i wouldn't rule it out. never. >> there has been conversations, i think, opinion pieces written in the wall street journal and others talking about the befirication of political strength. the agreement has tunnel vision on the issue of nuclear restraint without addressing any other areas. or perhaps use the efforts in nefarious ways against our allies and indeed against the united states. do you think under these negotiations have we lost track of the fact we also have other areas that need to be restrained? >> i don't think so. and but i think it's important
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to understand that it was not possible to address those concerns in this negotiation. without weakening our ability to get what we needed in terms of blocking iran's four pathways to a nuclear weapon. if we had allowed the agenda to widen, to address the issues of their activities in the region, they would have used it as a tradeoff. they would have linked their behavior in the region to the negotiations about their nuclear program. and so they would -- if they agreed to do less regional disturbing activity, they would expect us to be more lenient on their program. we couldn't enter into that. our arab allies says none of your business to be discussing those issues with them when we're not at the table. that affects our direct interest. so i don't think it was possible to address it within the context of the deal. we do need to address it outside
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the deal and in parallel to the deal. that's the burden of my argument here. can i say one other thing about force, i think that the use of force, the threat of the use of force and a credible threat of use of force is critically important in terms of deterring a breakout by iran or in fact cheating on this agreement. but actually, using the force has a problem. that's what the president was referring to. that's what happened in the case of israel's bombing of the nuclear reactor. what the iraqis did was they took the whole nuclear program underground. we had no viability on it. we were surprised when we actually went into the country in 1992 to discover they had massive nuclear program we knew nothing about. that's the danger here. that if we have to use force, what we'll end up with is something less than what we can have through the deal itself. 10 to 15 years of a nuclear free
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iran versus two to three years by bombing all their facilities but they be got the know how. they can rebuild. they will no longer be under any obligations. and they will claim they didn't have a justification for getting nuclear weapons because they were attacked when they didn't have nuclear weapons. >> would you like to respond? >> the ambassador is absolutely right about the bombing. i would add the reason we went in to find that was on the back of american tanks. >> thank you both for your service to the country and i think this has been a very good discussion. and you've had some very insightful comments. one of the issues here that has been raised is iranian dominance, iranian -- hegemonic desires. that kind of thing. do you believe our u.s. foreign policy is contributed to the
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strengthening of iran in the region? some of the decisions that we've made? >> well, now we're getting contentious, i don't mean to be so. >> i'm not trying to be contentious. >> i will be contentious, not you, senator, me. because, look, again i go back to the experience of the clinton administration. we had real concerns about what saddam hussein was doing to his people. we were constantly looking at what we needed to do to prevent that. we were contrained by the concern that we had that if we took him out we would open the gateway to the influence of iran in iraq. that was a major concern during that time. now, that's what happened as a result of taking saddam hussein out. now, i was in favor of that war, but i was also in favor similarly today in doing a whole
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lot of things that would have prevented that. that's what happened. once the gates of babylon were opened to iran that opened the way for them to exert their influence across the region. they were ready in lebanon via the shia. it was done courtesy of the u.s. army and the u.s. taxpayer. >> ambassador jeffrey, do you have the same view? >> certainly going into iraq, was a benefit to iran but it didn't have to be as bad as it turned out to be. there were stepped we could have taken over the last -- >> what should we have done? >> we could have made it clear that in other ways weep would have stayed there longer. and that iraq's security was in our interest. and that we were there for the long haul, not trying to get out. that's the first thing. >> but staying there for the
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long haul would have meant changing the shia government in such a way that they were going to be inclusive. you actually think we could have made them do that? >> we can't -- >> it looks to me like there was just a real desire in terms of dominance and not being inclusive. i don't know, really, how the united states -- can you tell me how that they, the united states can make the government do that? >> the answer is, we can't, senator. it's a very important point. even at the point of a gun. what we can do is have influence. these are rational people. all the political parties in iraq some are proiranian, some are not. some are opportunityistic. in the period from 2008 when the shia militias were put down to roughly 2012, 2013, the country was able to live in relative
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peace and relative peace between the two groups. two things happen. one is slowly other forces, including iran leading the charge pushed towards a more shia dominated system. secondly and far more seriously, i think this is the point where we've most contributed to rather than's spread in the region syria happened. nothing in the last 15 years has had the same effect on the region as what happened in syria and the fact we didn't react to t. it's delivered repeatedly in bad ways. the rise of isis, one of the biggest -- >> couldn't you also make the argument the rise of isis came as a result of what we talked earlier in terms of what was done in iraq? the -- i think there's a significant connection there to what's going on. let me ask, ambassador indyke he's mentioned syria.
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and there should be a no fly zone. do you think that should be done unilaterally by the united states, or should it be done collectively through the un or other multinational organizations? >> well, i don't think that the un collective action is an option here because the russians will veto it. >> is there any region to push it anyway, to show what their position is? >> we are operating a kind of de facto no fly zone in parts of syria already just because the syrian air force won't fly where our air force flies. we can -- there are plenty of ways in which we can effect to the calculus of the syrian assad regime regime. i don't know why we can't take out helicopters that are dropping barrel bombs on syrian
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civilians. we only need for us to take out one or two i believe. and the syrian regime would get the message. so there are certainly things that we could do that i think would stop short of a formal declaration of a no fly zone that would give relief to the syrian people. and would send us a very important signal to assert not just our arab allies, but so many across the arab and muslim world that our deeply affected by the fact that we're not doing anything. we're flying there against isis but we're not doing anything against the syrian regime. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you mr. chairman thank you for the testimony. i've been supportive of these negotiations with iran, partly because i sensed that it would be tough to hold the coalition that we put together together
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for much longer. and i agree with your assessment, that it was the international nature and multilateral nature of the sanctions that really bit particularly the financial sanctions. and the success came because it was iran versus the west rather than iran versus the u.s. and so i think going through these negotiations was probably the only way to really keep this coalition together if iran doesn't comply now. and we can come back and it won't be that simply nothing will be good enough for the u.s., but there is a material breach that is demonstrated that iran simply will not live to the agreements that were set out, if that is the case. so i've been supportive of the negotiations. i agree with senator mccain.
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that sanctions were effective in their economy but it didn't slow their drive to a nuclear weapon. i don't happen i don't know how the same level of sanctions over a period of time, why we would expect that to have any different result. so -- but now given where we are, and i agree with formulation that an agreement that really truly does limit their ability to move forward to nuclear weapons, if only for 10 or 15 years is better than not having an agreement. we can focus on the other issues. that's what i want to ask you a bit about. ambassador jeffrey, in your remarks you state in the region we need a strong commitment -- the region needs a strong commitment from the u.s. to push back iran's actions in iraq and syria and else where. what would that look like in iraq? whatwise what would a stronger commitment
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from the u.s. look like right now in iraq? >> the camp david meeting actually had a final statement that had some pretty good language. it said that the parties believed that iran should be required to agree -- engage on the presenceples of good neighborly relations. strict non-interference in the affairs of other countries. and respect for territories across the region. these are things it's not doing. one reason iran is gaining influence -- we saw this between the balance between tikrit and ramadi is that we're not as present as we should be. the iraqi people, including many of the sunnis i know in ramadi are having to turn to the shia militias, some of -- not all of them but some of whom are under the thumb of iran heszbollah and
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the -- because there is not an effective iraqi military one of the reasons there isn't an effective iraqi military is we haven't put our troops on the ground with these units. technically to advise them to call in air support but frankly, in many respects to strengthen their spine and to reassure them that as long as our troops are there, they will get air support. they will get resupplied and they won't be overrun because we won't let it happen. i cannot describe what it a difference that makes i saw it in vietnam in '72 and iraq in 2010. having americans out there would increase the capabilities of the iraqi forces tremendously. it would also show america cares. we're willing to put skin in the game. if we take casualties we're
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willing to do this because iraq is important to us. iran is willing to put people out there. >> ambassador, indyke, do you have any thoughts on that? >> i think it starts at the political level. the prime minister is better than maliky, but his commitment to inclusiveness is somewhat constrained by pressure from iraq. we need to be equally assertive in terms of pressing him to go through with the commitments he's made to inclusion when it comes on the political level to sunnis. they feel excluded and that's -- as long as that continues it will affect the morale of the military, the willingness of sunni soldiers to fight. and so that's point number one. inclusion is critically important. and we need to be actively engaged in that. point two is we should be building a more actively the capabilities of the sunni militias and the kurdish
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peshmerga. again, because of our respect for the sovereignty of iraq we're going through the iraqi government. and the iraqi government under the pressure from iran is restraining what we can do there. we need -- i think we've made some kind of breakthrough on that front now that i heard just this morning. with the sunni militias that arms will be going to the sunni militias. that's critically important. we need to be arming the kurdish forces on a more robust level. it's on the military level. i endorse what ambassador jeffrey said. it's political and arming of the militias. >> let pea return to the nuclear negotiations for the. if we -- if we concede what our goal is to keep them from a one year breakout period. if we assume they're that close, what is the real motivation now to come to the negotiating
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table? wouldn't they have more leverage if they were to complete that march toward the weapon and then negotiate after that? why do you suppose they're coming to the table now? do they fear a strike or are they not as close as we think they are? >> in my view, they were very close to that point. remember when prime minister netanyahu went to the un in 2013 and he drew the red line on the 20% enriched uranium. they were close to 200 kilograms. when you get above that, you will have enough for what's called a significant amount, sa -- you had the briefings, 25 to 27 kilos of 90% enriched for at least one nuclear device. they were right up to that point. that was also when the international community was really hitting them hard with sanctions. they were having a huge impact on their economy. also, both israel and the united states were at least making noises about a military strike. that only not only had an effect
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on iran, it had a frightening effect on many of our friends including the europeans who have never seen a war they don't want to run away from. they were nervous about us or the israelis striking they were willing to do dramatic sanctions ending all oil imports and doing other things against iran. you had calmombination of events. then it decided maybe we will back off a little bit. the important thing is they're giving up nothing. this is on the express decision of the supreme leader. they're not closing anything down, they're not blowing up a reactor like the north koreans did. they're not admitting guilt on the possible military dimensions. they're basically just putting things in storage for a while or converting things but they're not admitting guilt and they're not really changing their entire program to get to this one year. >> could i just add to that one
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point that i think is worth noting about the agreement. they are giving up something very significant when it comes to their iraq heavy water reactor, which is the most dangerous and expeditious way they could get plutonument for a nuclear weapon. they have agreed there to reconfigure the core to ship out the spent fuel. and not to have any kind of reprocessing facility. that's a very robust measure. and it's designed specifically that way because that's precisely the way that the koreans broke out. and so while it's true that they haven't blown up anything as ambassador jeffrey suggests they have accepted the kinds of curves that we need to be sure that we have blocked their
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pathway. we have to be concerned about cheating. we have to be concerned about what happens at the end of the road. but i think that in terms of what our negotiators have generated here, within the confines of the iranians having to be able to say, you know, we didn't blow up anything. essentially is not a bad deal, in that regard, it's a good deal. >> thank you. ambassador jeffrey, in your testimony, you call for an advanced authorization for use of military force against iran. to prepare for the possibility that they will violate an agreement that has been reached. so this is the committee that would have to pass in advance authorization for the use of military force against iran. we already have two
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authorizations for the use of military force that are open ended, not limited by geography. we have a third one that is pending. before this committee. with regard to what the limitations should be for the authorization from the military force by the united states against isis. could you talk a little bit about what you think should be in that resolution, what type of military force we should be explicitly putting into the resolution and what should be the conditions under which this committee passes the advanced authorization use for military force against iran given the fact we don't know what the conditions will be that could possibly then trigger the use of that advanced use of military force in the resolution that you would recommend? >> thank you, senator. to be specific, this is something that would be part of
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a package if in fact the senate did not take -- if we do get to an agreement, the first step then under the iran nuclear review act, you looked at the act and you didn't take action to stop the lifting of sanctions, thus the agreement would go forward. this would be a measure to insure that if we do have this agreement, it is clear to all, including the iranians but also including to our friends in the region that this isn't a water shed event in our relations with iran, it's simply a deal to get them to stop moving towards nuclear weapons capabilities. therefore, if they were to try to break out and they were still could do this within a year under the agreement as we understand it that current u.s. policy laid out by the president repeatedly is we will use military force to stop iran from
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getting a nuclear weapon. given recent events, including the syrian debacle it would be helpful if we knew the u.s. people through the congress supported that action. >> may i just add? just so i understand you want us -- you want this committee to authorize the use of military force against iran explicitly in the event that they violate the agreement? or in the event there is no agreement? >> in the event with or without an agreement that iran is on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon -- and this administration and no other administration has ever said what that red line would be. that's another issue. certainly, it is u.s. policy that we would use all means at our disposal. it's clear it means military force to stop iran from actually achieving a military capability. as that is our policy but as
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there is some question to our willingness given the syrian experience to carry out that red line policy, it would be helpful if the united states congress were to do that. >> it was not necessary to carry out the red line policy because assad acceded to what it was in fact the goal of the administration was. which was to put their chemical weapons. in fact, we did not have to go beyond the red line, because assad accepted the conditions. so i guess again i'm trying to just zero in here in terms of what you're asking for. is it that we should be having this debate now or should we have this debate after the administration concludes the deal with the iranians? >> after it concludes the deal with the iranians. the other thing with the syrian is -- >> let me just understand if the deal is one that is
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acceptable to the united states and to iran, should we still pass an advanced authorization for the use of military force against iran. >> yes, i think so. because there is many people who think that even with a deal, you're going to have an iran that will cheat or try to get around it. >> what do you think of that idea, ambassador indyke. that even after we reach an agreement this body would pass an advanced authorization for the use of military force against iran? >> it strikes me as a kind of belt and suspenders approach. we don't need it. i'm wary about it partly because it in a sense puts the iranian finger on our trigger. and i'm not sure that that's a wise path to go down. i think the president's statement that he's willing to use all means necessary to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon is clear.
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we have deployed significant forces in the gulf. and taken measures with our gulf allies. to insure that the iranians understand that there is a real capability there. so if we're trying to get at the question of will to actually use that, i think that there are other ways that can be done without in effect producing a kind of automatticity to how we would respond. >> i tend to agree with you. i think that obviously the goal of an agreement with iran is to move towards a normalization of relations with iran. is that possible? we don't know that at this point. but if there is going to be some attempt that is made towardsbetween
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iranian governments, surely it's based upon an agreement that doesn't then lead to an automaticity of action that is already preapproved by this committee in terms of use of military against iran, if there is some questionable activities, questions that are raised with regard to compliance with the agreement. so i just disagree with you, ambassador jeffrey. i just think that would be a dangerous statement for us to be making at a point at which we've reached an agreement that is acceptable to the p 5 + 1 and will lead to a sigh of relief across the planet. and that this would be an unnecessary escalation in terms of the dynamic that would have potentially have been created between our country and iran. >> senator one word on this, i
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understand your point. none the less, it is the policy of the u.s. government we would do this. that was announced repeatedly by the president when he does talk about the iranian situation. secondly, the deal with syria, the willingness of the russians to try to negotiate a deal, i believe happened only after this committee passed a resolution authorizing the use of force by the u.s. government against syria. >> i would say, again sir that while it is the kind of policy of our country that iran would not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, the premise of the treaty will be they are not going to get a weapon because it will be safe guards that are in place that will give us the trip wire that we need to know to then have us act -- then on compliance -- that they will not be in compliance and we're
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authorizing military force. i think it would complicate dramatically our ability to in fact gain the full benefits of the treaty that we're hoping can be negotiated. thank you. >> thank you. >> ambassador indyke we have about ten minutes. usually secretary kerry tells us he has a hard stop and stays hours later. i wanted to give you an opportunity to stay and make sure this is fair and balanced until we ebd or if you need to leave you can do that. >> thank you very much. i apologize to all of you that i have to chair a meeting that i convened with 30 people and i couldn't change that. i really apologize that i have to leave. >> thank you very much for your service for being here today. and the record is going to remain open foreign policy some period of time if you would answer questions, we would greatly appreciation it. and with great appreciation, you're dismissed. >> thank you. >> with that, senator?
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>> thank you mr. chairman. mr. jeffrey, i guess i'd like your thoughts on this. my problem with all of this is i have a threshold question that i have trouble getting beyond. and we've made reference to it here today and that is the fact that we -- when these -- when we started these negotiations i said this is great. we're going to sit down with the iranians and get them to the point where they say we want to be a normal country. we're going to give up medaling in other people's affairs and being sponsors of terrorism. we will actually quit doing acts of terrorism. then i find out they say that's off the the table we won't talk about that at all. here's the problem i've fwautgot. if the negotiations are regarding what they're going to do over the next ten years and developing a nuclear weapon, but in so doing if i vote for that
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i'm voting for a condition by which we and everyone here who votes for it is going to boost the iranian economy by taking off these sanctions. secondly we'll release a whole lot more cash in oil that we know for a fact. we know for an absolute fact that a portion of that money is going to go to sponsor terrorist activities and are going to kill releasing that money is going to kill fellow human beings. i mean who they are. i don't know where they are. i don't know how many they are. i know for a fact that my vote in releasing the sanctions and releasing the cash is going to result in the death of innocent human beings somewhere in the world. on the other side we need to vote for this this is wonderful. we'll get them stop building the nuclear weapon, as they build the nuclear weapon we don't know what's going to happen. israel or we may get the spine
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to stop them from doing that militarily. but i know for a fact what's going to happen if i vote for this. how do you morally justify that kind of a vote? >> that's a tough question, senator. i think that if i would make the case for an agreement, it would be first of all it's separate from all of its other nefarious activities. as you pointed out -- >> it isn't. >> exactly because of the money. >> it's tied closely and directly to that. >> if the agreement is not only linked with very clear american willingness with our friends and allies to use force against iran either on the nuclear account that we just had this discussion a moment ago on or to block their actions in the region to kill more people. if that agreement gives us more international support to do just
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that, that would be a case for doing it. that is in the end we might be able to be more effective and stopping these guys if it's very clear to everybody that we're in the business of stopping these guys. i think what you've heard today from at least me is that it's not clear that we're in the business of stopping them. that's the thing i focus on. >> i appreciate that. and i hope you can appreciate the dilemma that this puts us in. but the second dilemma that i have when this whole thing started and i started drilling down into what we were actually doing here is that, you know we're -- two parties are sitting down at the table and wanting to get to a different point. i am yet to be convinced that the iranians are negotiating to agree to get to a point where they will never have a nuclear weapon. indeed, as i have analyzed this it seems to me they are
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negotiating for a path and a time frame on which they -- now this is a ten year deal. we're deal ing with a culture that's 5,000 years old. ten years to these people is nothing in the over all scheme of things. even if you stretch it to 15, which some people refer to. one of the things that concerns us -- i think it concerns the chairman, is we are getting the answers we want about what happens at the end of this ten year period. even in classified settings, they're not telling us things we need to know, people who are going to have to sign off on this thing. so if i were the iranians i'd say, look, let's cut the best deal we can. we'll get the sanctions off our economy grows our people are happy. we're able to use the money to do the research we need to do to get to where we want to get at the end of the ten year period.
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at the end of the ten year period they'll say okay world we made the agreement we kept your part of the agreement now you keep yours and leave us alone because we're going to build a nuclear weapon. so far nobody has been able to assure me this agreement is going to be such the iranians are going to say we're not going to build a nuclear weapon. everyone is saying that probably is not what we're going to see. that's not what we're going to see, then they have effectively negotiated a path and a time table towards which they can have a nuclear weapon. and so you know, just putting this off for this period of time seems to me to be not a good bargain at all. your thoughts? >> first of all, this agreement doesn't stop anything. it is an agreement about a period of time. if everything that the administration on the second of april happens actually happens you get approximately one year
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of notification assuming that you have inspectors on the scene. during which you can react if they start violating the agreement. at the end of that year, they will be at a point where they can get a nuclear device. at the end of ten years, that time period shrinks because two things happen. first of all, the restriction on 5,000 functioning centrafuges goes away. they can increase that to any number. secondly, the limitation on the kind of centrafuges. the far more efficient ones. that restriction goes away, too. >> along with more efficient ones that will be invented over the next ten years. >> assuming, once again the rules of my hypothetical case they adhere to the rules. the rule is they cannot do any research on centrifuges.
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at the end of 15 years with unlimited centrifuges because they'll have 18,000 plus some of these new ones, i've seen indications that within just a couple of months, almost as fast as where they are now they could probably return to a nuclear weapons capability significant amount for one nuclear device. so you shrink very much at the end of that time. it doesn't mean they'll do it. once again, whether we have one year or one week the question is, if they're moving to a nuclear weapon, what are we going to do about it? more importantly what do they think we're going to do it about it which is why i get to the importance of any president saying he or she will use military force but the importance of the u.s. people and united states congress saying that. that's in the end the only thing that will stop them from getting a nuclear weapon. >> i think that's well put. the comment that was made by either you or mr. indyke that
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all this is doing is putting things in storage for ten years. i think the american people need to understand that. they need to understand what we're taking on here. my time is up. >> mr. indyke was right. i let the record so that they do change the core of the plutonument while the heavy water plant. that is the one concrete thing that go away in this entire agreement, as it's laid out. >> for the period of time that the -- >> for the period of time exactly. for 15 years. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman thank you. ambassador jeffrey for sticking with us. one quick follow up. we were never going to get a permanent agreement here. it doesn't matter when you're talking about what's ten years one 15 years or 20 years because we were always going to be talking about a certain period of time. it is important to note that one of the 15 year restrictions is
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on the stored enriched content. that is a 15 year restriction. so you would agree that even though they will begin to spin more centrifuges after the ten year period, the fact that should they abide by their continued restriction on how much capacity they have, is a significant limitation on the breakout capacity? >> absolutely. then most of their feed stock would be pure uranium and that does take longer. again, the one year period would drop to somewhere between one half and one third of that. i believe. in that period between 10 and 15 years. at the end of the 15 years, almost all restrictions are off because they are enrich up tew 20 or any percent from that period and the limit of stock they can have is unlimited. the president himself on npr some time ago said it's ten
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years. he's changed his mind since then. but i think the ten year is basically if you're going to make an argument for this agreement you should hang your hat on ten years, sir. >> of course important to note that the inspections last well beyond 10 to 15 year timeframe which is why many of us would make the argument it's not a 10 year deal. i want to come back to the question of the comprehensive strategy to try to push back on iran's growing influence in the region. i do think it's a rewrite of history to suggest that the set of sanctions on iran to try to change their disposition on a nuclear weapons program was about their other behavior. i believed when i was voting for the sanctions that should iran choose a different path when it comes to a nuclear weapons future that we would engage in a conversation about withdrawing some of those sanctions. and in part that's why we have a separate set of sanctions in place for some of their other behavior in the region. and we reserve the right to
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increase those sanctions should they not change that behavior. so i understand the moral question senator rich is getting at. we do have to accept part of this money may be used to support a group like hezbollah or the houthies. we're not accepting the premise if we expand it to all sorts of other behavior in the region. let's talk about the more comprehensive approach that both you and ambassador indyke referenced. i guess part of my confusion is that it often seems to begin and end with a question of increased military capacity that we're going to give to our sunni partners in the region to try to control the bloodshed once it starts happening. rather than talking about all of the ways in which we can try to tamp down on the reasons that groups like hezbollah and isis
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and the houthis have influence in the first place which is deteriorating conditions of government, of rule of law. that doesn't seem to factor into a lot of our conversations about what we should be doing in terms of growing a comprehensive strategy. even your testimony is limited to a handful of military tools that you're recommending. as we sort of grow this comprehensive strategy next to a nuclear agreement isn't it more important to be putting in place a set of non-military tools so that the conditions aren't so ripe for both sunni and shia insurgencies in these regions instead of simply having conversations about what our military tool kit is? >> you're absolutely right, senator. the reason i focused on the military is that it's often the long pole in the tent in any administration. i would argue paraen thetically particularly in this one.
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frankly i've seen every administration republican and democrat have resitations about using military force. military force is a necessary but not sufficient part of the package to deal with the iranians throughout the region. which are not mainly about direct military aggression on the gulf states or our other allies which f-15's and 16's and air defense system might help. these subtle actions in ukraine or the south china sea or in iran or yemen have a military component and people are nervous about getting involved militarily if we're not backing them. and that requires some use of military force. but many other things are necessary. one of their concerns i have is if we don't get engaged, our allies will go off on our own. they will conduct policies and operations that will be too military, too one sided, will simply lead to engeilation.
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we tend to bring a certain amount of moderation. i'm a diplomat by profession not a soldier. we try to leverage our military our sanctions and energy and other policies to get people to sit down and resolve disputes. be it in syria, be it in yemen. and we're capable of doing that. those are all part of the package. but the earnest money on the table, particularly now but basically always has to be a willingness if necessary to use military force. to be part of the package. people don't think it is. >> i worry where you might see where the reluctance sin congressis in congress. what about -- are there other sets of sanctions? we have the ability to increase maintain or increase sanctions
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against iran for the continued development of ballistic missile program for their support of terrorist groups in the region. what do you make of the potential for a separate set of sanctions and their potential expansion to be part of this comprehensive strategy we're talking about? >> to send a signal, it's always helpful when the u.s. congress speaks with one voice and does something that is -- will get a lot of attention such as impose sanctions. but on iran the really effective sanctions are international ones. those are the ones that broad it to the table. and those sanctions are at this point, narrowly focused on the nuclear account. it would be hard to get un or eu sanction and certainly global sanctions on iran for its activities in syria, of course one of its ally gicizeies is russia.
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>> part of the reason it has been heart to grow support for the other activities is the priority has been stopping iran's nuclear ambition. to the extent you >> to the extent that you take that issue off of the table at least for a short period of time back to how he described it it gives you the room in which to build a comprehensive set of international sanctions with or without a country like russia to influence their other behaviors. thank you i'm over time. mr. chairman, thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman and ambassador jeffrey both for being here and staying for people like me who had another hearing and so i'm late coming to this. there's a lot of speculation about if iran gets a nuclear weapon what that does to the
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region. other countries will feel like they need to do that. so is there some reason to think that if there is success in the final negotiations that that could have the opposite effect for the region? that it would help to address some of the concerns that we've heard from other countries? >> we've heard nonofficial gulf state personalities openly and more efficient ones behind the scenes say this is an option if we're not happy with the result. i think it is a possibility. the ambassador took a some what different view that i urge you to take a look at as well.
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it's definitely not the policy of this administration or any american administration to have anybody in the region developing a break out nuclear capacity let alone actual nuclear weapons so we're not going to be in favor of that. the more we're doing things they need for their security that are hard for us to do the more influence we're going to have to persuade them not to go down that road. the more they're feeling lonely and ignored by us and threatened by iran and then there's if iran cannot have it why can't i. then they're going to be more interested. the ambassador in his testimony talked about a possible nuclear guarentee over the region. that's another idea. that these things that involve american commitments, particularly military commitments will give us more
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leverage to persuade these people not to go down that route but it remains open to them. if they don't like what they're hearing and seeing out of washington and in our actions in the field there's a real possibility some of them might go in this direction sure. >> talk more if you will. i know it was about the deturrent for some of that in the region. do you see that as making a real difference and how will countries like iran react if we do that? post negotiation? >> i think like my authorization for the use of military force which he was a little bit
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equivocal about. we're looking for ways for the united states to show symbolically that we're in the game for these people. be it by decisions by congress or nuclear commitments there are other ways. one or the other should be tried to deter these people from getting their own nuclear capabilities. i'm preaching to the choir here. people in the region are not happy with this agreement. >> to go back to senator murphy's line of questioning, iran, you have suggested a range of other security supports for countries in the region but as we're looking at other potential ways to sure up the direction in which we would like them to go, what other options do you think
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are most important for us to be looking at? let's put the security situation in one side but what about the economic and other supports we can provide? what's most important there? >> senator would i say the ambassador indicated this and some members of your committee have. preserving the nation states. preserving the stability of those states in the region against these forces be it shia or suni. you said what are the other components. we shouldn't pick fights with these people. we should be careful about talking about their internal situations because right now in a crisis situation we're not going to be able to do too much about it. there's ways you can do this quitely. there's ways you can do it in an
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open and crude fashion. that's one thing and then targeted economic assistance for refugees and for groups that are potential generators of instability is another. yemen leaps to mind and syria leaps to find and more willingness to tie our military to a negotiated solution. there are ways to resolve syria but they require both sides being ready to stop fighting right now. one isn't. >> i hear what you're saying but it appears to me that this is what we have been trying to do in a number of countries in the region. yemen is in that category. egypt is in that category. syria early on was in that category and yet it has not lead to success and so what's the missing ingredient?
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not enough military might? i think there's been -- there's a lot of concern that i hear from people in this country about engaging in troops in the sail way that we have done in iraq and afghanistan over the last 13 years so what are the missing ingredients that need to be included before getting to success. >> i was involved in the balancethe balkins and at one point bosnia was almost as retractable as syria. when we went in a lot of the attention was on our military, our bombing campaign and again later in cosivo but it was a whole series of international diplomatic efforts to mobilize the community.
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passing the claims so that everybody would get somebody out of this. offering for governance economic support caring for refugees. it was an entire package that was put together and lead by the united states that had obviously a flashy military element and many other elements as well but it worked in bosnia. when they didn't get it and try the same thing again four years later we did it again in kosivo and the people decided they had enough of him. these were limited conflicts. our military use was restrained and backed by diplomacy and international legitimacy and by economic and development programs that are continuing to this day. so that's what i would point to. >> it appears to me that's what
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we have been trying to do but yet we haven't seen the same level of success. >> i said happier days because the balkins are more difficult than the middle east. any of us out there that spent a lot of time know there's no easy answers to the underlying problems. we point to the underlying problems as why you have these excel activities accelerants of violence and instability and we aren't going to figure out how to deal with them. there won't be a final and complete solution without dealing with those but for the moment we're in a crisis situation and we have to put out the flames. >> thank you for your testimony and your service to the country and without objection the record will remain open until the end of the day friday. hopefully you will respond to questions that are asked.
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we thank you again and the meeting is adjourned. coming up on c-span 3 a look at on going drought conditions in western states and experts explain the environmental protection agencies new rule to explain federal control of land and water resources. after that former secretary of state talks about her plan to use middle eastern public opinion to help shape u.s. foreign policy. later imf director christine legarde releases a new report on the state of the u.s. economy. now a hearing on drought conditions in the western united states. witnesses include interior department and water resources officials talking about actions they're taking and state federal
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partnerships. this is two hours. >> good morning. welcome to everyone this morning. we're meeting today to discuss drought conditions. i don't know about the rest of you but i was completely dumped on yesterday. i had never seen it rain so hard
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but i was thinking about drought as we were battling the wet here. but truly the drought conditions facing the western united states have garnered the attention of so many of us. much of the west has been in varying degrees of drought for the past 15 years now. according to a survey released last week 57% of the west is now experiencing moderate to exceptional drought. all or parts of nine states range from severe to exceptional drought and the impacts are significant. california nit of its fourth year of severe drought has for the first time imposed mandatory drought on water use and businesses. many continue to face unprecedented interruptions
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which are the primary sources of water. today in the absence of water their livelihoods are being dramatically impacted. drought is leaving behind hard decisions for these folks. they're saying, you know which fields do they lay fallow? do they change the certain crops they plant? do they plow under crops such as fruit trees. i was out in fresno several months ago and saw whole fields of beautiful citrus trees bulldozed over because there was no water. in certain cases the drought has lead farmers to go out of business entirely and of course the impacts are not just on our farmers. with some communities no longer having running water and individuals in foreign communities losing jobs. there's much discussion regarding what drives water release decisions in the state. during the course of the state's four year drought for example many have said that the large
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amounts of water have been released at various times and various forms had been done to ensure protection of fish at the expanse of cities towns and farmers. indeed we have heard repeatedly that farmers in the state use 80% of the state's water. so the question is is that accurate? my understanding is that the california department of water resources reported that statewide water use looks more like this. 10% urban use, 41% agriculture use and a majority of 49% use for environmental management. wetlands, delta outflow and in stream flow requirements. so one of the very real questions that we should discuss regarding california's circumstances and potentially elsewhere is to what extent is the very important balance between water or fish under state and federal law being given equal legal support for that of water delivery to meet
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the needs of people in cities, towns and farms. and if the balance is not heequal then why not? are there regulatory imbalances and can the federal government will helpful in addressing imbalances. in the west the situation while perhaps not quite as dire is trending that way. in washington state the governor declared a statewide drought emergency on may 15th. in oregon a state of drought emergency in 7 could you tells with another 8 requesting designation. across the colorado river basin where 40 million residents in 7 states rely on water for residential, industrial and agriculture needs the drought in varying degrees has been a fact of life for now some 15 years and the strains are starting to show. most notably at lake meade where they have fallen 130 feet. at the current rate in the next
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few years in arizona and elsewhere they could see reductions in their allocations under the colorado river compact. hydropower operations could also be curtailed. i mentioned in this committee and in others that potential hydropower impacts remind us of the strong nexus between energy and water and the strain that drought puts on that nexus is something that i'm watching and very concerned about. in the face of the challenges stemming from drought water users federal and state officials and others are working to ensure delivery of water where it's needed. these include state and federal officials working together to facilitate water transfers and farmers agreeing to delay the date of waters to benefit species and many farmers turned to water consumption to meet their needs. there's some hard questions i think that need to be asked here. are current actions sustainable
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in the face of multiyear droughts? are all affected parties giving sufficient attention to long-term planning and related actions? and what is the federal government's most appropriate role in addressing longer term solutions given tight budges and that much of what happens with water in the west is what's actually managed by the states. are there innovative efforts on the ground that should be replicated and what new ideas for water storage and conservation and use might we consider. we have an impressive panel of witnesses here today and particularly i look forward to hearing from those on the ground and how they're meeting the challenges. i look forward to everyone's thoughts on how we can be helpful here. i'll turn to my colleague, i will note to the committee that we have a vote scheduled at 10:30 so we will keep the committee going and just ask members to go out and vote and then come back but i'd like to
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turn to the senator. >> thank you. i'd like to thank her for scheduling this important hearing. as you mentioned in my state the governor has declared a drought emergency as has been done in 11 other states and i hope we can use this hearing to better understand the magnitude of tim pact of these droughts across our western states. i want to emphasize too that we hope to have a robust discussion today about solutions. things that we can do and things that we can plan for in the future. what is working. what is not working? what are the federal government actions that need to be addressed to face drought issues over the long-term and if drought conditions are likely to become the new normal what do we need to do to usher in a new era of solutions? this year many states are experiencing the warmest winter on record. in my state, snow impact at the
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mountain level which keeps our river flowing in the spring and summer are now at 9% of normal levels. 11 snow sites where snow free this year for the first time ever. for example, hurricane ridge which is one of the most visited parts of our state in olympic national park is normally covered in feet of snow this year and is completely snow free. it's actually a pretty startling sight to many. as a result of such low snowpack 78% of the streams are running below normal and it's projected to be the lowest it's been in 64 years. the governor declared a statewide drought emergency. it's working to mitigate the impact in rural community which is is hard hit. it's the state's most productive agriculture region. irrigation districts are
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rationing waters and farmers are facing cuts. they predict the crop loss could be as much as $1.2 billion this year. so i want to make sure that our federal agencies are working hand in hand with the states to provide relief and assistance and to try to address this issue moving forward. meanwhile our communities are bracing for a severe pyre season which also will provide many challenges. so it's very important to me that we look at responding to the long-term changes that are there and we think about the paradigm shift in front of us as we face these warmer seasons. we need to develop 21st century strategies for water management that not only respond to the drought conditions of today but prepare us for an uncertain future. this requires new ways of thinking and collaboration which means exploring all options.
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not just incremental change at this point in time. i think the project in my state is an example of long-term water basin planning which hasn't been done in the past in which interest groups from farmers to fishermen to tribes are working together to try to implemented the best plan over the long-term but there are four areas we should consider moving forward. one more collaborative water sharing agreements. them powers kmuncommunities to take action at a local level and be part of crafting solutions. second we need to be more flexible in operations. this includes how we build manage and finance and support those efforts at a local level. a lot of people don't want to talk about storage because they start talking about how long it takes to get it authorized.
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i think we have to think creatively about how we build storage now. we need to do -- even if that small scale storage is what is being done with the project. we need to do a better job of leveraging science and technology. i'm amazed at what israel has done as a country to have such low water resources and yet continue to be such an agriculture producer. we need to make sure that we're deploying new technologies that help improve efficientcies from our hydroelectric dams to homes and we need to do a better job of planning for the future than simply reacting. i hope we can get some of our climate scientists from oak ridge. senator alexander is a member of our committee who they have incredible science on what will be impacting us as a nation.
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i think we should look at what the new normal conditions could mean as a nation. we'll look at what the impact could be from an agriculture per perspective. we need to do all that we can now at the federal level to be flexible in our response to get the right kind of investments to help ensure that our states can deal with these and our communities will be better protected in the future. i thank you for your leadership in having this hearing. i look forward to hearing from the witnesses including tom who is in washington state and i lack forward to hearing from all the witnesses today on this important topic. >> thank you. with this we will begin hearing from our witnesses. very distinguished panel. thank you for being here.
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the lead will begin with michael kohn nor who is the deputy secretary for the department of interior. he will be followed by the director of the water planning division for the arizona department of water resources. thank you for coming from the west to be here. also from the west from washington, we have mr. tom loranger who is the water resources program manager for washington state department of ecology. he will be followed by mr. james o . giving us the view from the western states there. mr. cannon michael is on behalf of the family farm alliance. welcome to the committee and wrapping up the panel is betty cody who is a national resources policy specialist at crs. we welcome all of you.
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with that mr. connor we'll lead off with you and when the vote is called you will see various members of the committee leaving but i would ask that we just move through the testimony here this morning. i know you have a hard stop at noon so we want to try to accommodate that. 5 minutes testimony and your full written statement will be incorporated as part of the record. mr. connor welcome. >> thank you, chairman. members of the committee. for the record i am mike connor. deputy secretary of the department of the interior and i want to thank you for the tun to testify on the subject of drought and the action the department and it's bureaus are taking to address the serious water resource issues effecting much of the west. i will summarize my lengthy written testimony. the department is aware of the worries confronting families farmers tribes businesses cities and farmers throughout the west.
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we understand the implications for western kmuns and the need for continuous action to build long-term water supply reliability and resilientcy. we have no choice but to adjust and adapt. to that end the department is marshalling every resource. it has instituted a strategy that encompasses short, medium, and long-term dimensions. given the infrastructure an urgent response to drought required a focus on immediate day-to-day operations. it's taking in and all actions to more effectively manage water and maximize supplies for human use while maintaining environmental conditions to protect fish and wildlife as well as protect the interest of other water users. this year, the fourth year of a historic drought in california
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it's been minimal while federal agencies, state agencies, water users and non-governmental industries have worked together to share limited water supplies. the collaboration has been as historic as the drought itself. beyond addressing the current crisis we're also making strategic investments to stretch limited supplies and minimize conflicts over the next several years. as illustration two weeks ago the secretary travelled to los angeles and announced $49.5 million in grant assistance to co-fund a host of locally locally driven water conservation projects. they join hundreds of millions of dollars invested by this administration and supported by congress to help families across the west confronted by the historic drought. finally we continue to assess and plan for long-term actions required to improve our understanding of water resources as well as secure resources needed to invest unsustainable water uses that are the source
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of significant conflict today and likely to get worse in the future. the department views this as an all hands effort. the national parks service bureau of land management geological survey are all working aggressively with our partners. our work is dove tailing with that of other agencies like the department of agriculture as part of the national drought resistance partnership. federal drought policies across the government and help communities manage the impact of drought. these efforts rely on the cooperation of a broad array of stake holders. governors, tribal leaders state and local water authorities, conservationists, ranchers farmers and others. from grazing lands and timberlands to parklands and indian country collaboration is enabling flexibility to prevent water loss, preserve endangered species, protect recreational assets and provide irrigation to
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farm lands. to be suszccessful we must be dedicated and commit to the long-term. take the colorado river basin for example. that's been for the last 15 years. most recently the program developed in 2007 as well as agreements forged in 2010 and 2012 with the mexican government through those efforts 1 million acre feet of water has been conserved delaying the time we'll reach critical levels in lake meade. the drought continues out pace our efforts and shortages are possible in 2016 and 2017. underscoring the need for continued collaboration and extraordinary operational measures in the future. successfully confronting the challenge of drought will take considerable investment and on going commitment. the department and this administration will not lose focus on our community to help communities dealing with
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drought. neither the federal government or communities we serve can build, conserve, recycle, or regulate our way out of the challenges or rely on only one option to meet the challenges that we face. the understand the need to take a multifaceted long-term approach to diversifying our portfolio and working to achieve lasting results. thank you for the opportunity. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you deputy secretary. >> good morning, chairman. i'm the director of the arizona department of water resources. thank you for providing me the opportunity to present arizona's testimony regarding drought in the west, it's impact on my state, our formula for offsetting and mitigating drought impacts in the role of the united states. the nature of arizona constantly reminds us of the value of every drop of water we have. arizona has a diverse water supply portfolio. we use about 7 million acre feet of water per year and the
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sources are 40% from the colorado river 40% from ground water, 17% from in state water sources and 3% from reuse of reclaimed water. arizona key yated institutions that provide certainty for our water uses. it took political capital and compromise and hard choices to create the regulations. the result was worth the effort. they enjoy a high quality of life and will continue to do so in the face of the drought. despite successes it remains. understanding that uncertain city part of aarizona's history and is a key strategic goal for the state. drought on the colorado river is at the top of our list of challenges. arizona will lose 320,000 of its 2.8 million acre feet colorado river allocation when a tier one
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shortage is triggered. we'll know in august 2015 if shortage will occur in 2016. the probability of a tier one shortage is 33% and increases to 75% for 2017. arizona shoulders the brunt of the shortage, about 84% of the total taken by arizona nevada, and mexico. if lake meade continues to deline arizona will take larger reductions while california will take no shortage. another challenge is an issue referred to as the structural deficit. it's caused by the volume of water released from lake meade for beneficial use evaporation and delivery losses exceeding the volume of water entering from lake powell even in a normal year. as a result the elevation drops about 12 feet per year. greater than normal flows help offset structural deficit impacts but drought reduced that
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from happening despite this arizona is not in a water crisis and is well situated to deal with the drought. an outcome of good planning and managing. the ground water act contains carrots and sticks. it mandates water conservation and new housing must have a 100 year renewable water supply. it incentivizes saving water. they allow water to be stored under ground and recovered later. resulting in the storage of 5.6 million acre feet and 3.4 million acre feet by the arizona banking authority which is dedicating to back filling colorado river shortages. the value of underground storage programs was quickly recognized by other states. arizona stored 80,000 acre feet in 1990 and another 600,000 for nevada in the 2000s maintaining
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the resil that will be a challenge. i want to address the role of the federal government. the first the secretary of the interior should be an effective partner in creative and implementing action to create a sustainable colorado river. however it is imperative that any actions of the secretary of the united states not reuse arizona's flexibility to manage it's own water supplies. arizona already takes the share of shortage, further actions that might further impact arizona are not warranted and would not be equitable. further it's critical to arizona indian tribes and to the united states as trustee for those tribes. project water is key to existing in future settlements in arizona. third there's a need for augmenting the colorado river recognized in federal
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legislation and water supply and demand study and arizona's strategic vision for water supply sustain blt. last arizona would like to see additional opportunities for federal supportive programs that conserve water that will benefit the entire system rather than one particular user, especially considering how much some users like arizona have already done. thank you again for the tun to provide you with a snapshot of the arizona experience. >> thank you. appreciate your comments. >> madam chair and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i'm the water resources manager with the washington state department of ecology. current snowpack levels in washington are 9% of normal. this is the lowest we have on record. because of the low snow pact rivers with diminishing flows and irrigation districts are cutting off supplies. the governor declared a drought in washington in may.
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with the state's drought declaration relief can be provided for those experiencing hardship and improve flows for fish. regarding agriculture in the state currently difficult decisions are being made about what crops give priority water and how best to save fish. as the chairman mentioned the washington state department of agriculture anticipated $1.2 million in crop loss this year in the state. the basin where the bureau has built multiple storage projects the drought means less water is available for period period water users. we already issued 30 emergency permits to users in the district in the basin. in obeyther basins we sent out curtailments already. we are already working with tribes and other managers to
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develop leases and develop flows for struggling salmon. regarding communities in the state, the largest municipality, seattle, tacoma everett all indicated they will not experience water shortages this year. they have taken proactive steps to store rain water that fell in the wintertime. however other utilities, particularly the smaller community systems may experience problems. the drought responds to funding from the legislature will allow communities to rehabilitate or deepen wells as needed or construct ties with the adjacent systems like in the 2005 drought. regarding flows for fish, on the olympic peninsula we have committed to 13 leases already. 1,000 acres of farm land lie fallow. in return flows will be improved particularly in the late summer period. we're also in the process of
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leasing water from the district, very sensitive trips very important to salmon in that basin. right now water supplies and flows are extremely low which is impacted both ir gators use and fish passage and so currently partners are shifting flow from creek to creek to aid struggling salmon right now so challenging time for fish and farms in washington. key to the successful implementation of emergency drought response in washington is the work we have done actively developing collaborative partnerships in key watersheds. we have flow enhancement projects for fish. fisheries interest and striebs supporting water supply projects for out of stream use of water.
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from these partnerships we developed minimum flow requirements flexible mitigation strategies and lease arrangements that make it easy to shift water around when we have to during drought. leasing arrangements to share water among irrigation districts and provide water while land lays fallow. in addition all parties have agreed to a flexible mitigation approach for large drought wells that when used have mitigation water not up front but later on in the season. the integrated strategy was developed working with all of these partners when funded it will expand the capacity in the basin, improve facility operations and improve fish passage and fish habitat for the critical drought periods. in the watershed the association agreed to voluntarily reduce it
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during the drought piers and periods of low flow. this is remarkable given that their water rights allow them to make nor water. they're also entering into lease agreements so that water can be left in the stream during these critical drought periods. ir gators striebs and all levels of government are moving water around and ensuring use for irrigation. they're hauling fish to cooler waters. thank you. >> welcome. >> thank you. i'm the executive director of the western governor's association. an independent organization representing the governors of 19 western states and three u.s. territories. it's an honor to appear before you today to discuss the critical issue of drought. well over a year ago nevada governor and current chairman
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announced his intention to devote his energies as chairman of wga on the critical issue of drought. this announcement was applauded by the western governors because as an issue it speaks to the strengths of wga. it is timely it's actionable. it's bipartisan. it's a top priority of our governors and unfortunately it's a concern in the west. it's designed by governor sandoval the western governor's drought forum is an effort that speaks to the pragmatic nature of governors. they're focused on practical common sense solutions to state and regional challenges. i will not belabor the severity of the drought or it's impacts you and other witnesses have established that case and there's been extensive coverage. they're now 0% of normal and the snow pact has officially
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disappeared. these severe conditions are not limited to the golden state. washington governor as you have heard declared a statewide drought emergency on may 15th siting the fact that on the peninsula where there should have been 80 inches of snow there were glacer lilies in bloom. they were the forgot lowest on record since 1940. >> he mandated a 25% reduction in water use. governor helped with the participation in the water resources management plan which will empower water users in a rich area to collaboratively
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address the risk of drought to agriculture, communities and the environment. the governors also addressed drought collectively through the western governors drought forum. it's a multifaceted enterprise that organized workshops, hosted webinars produced reports and engineered an online resource library to share drought management best practices, case studies and innovations. they hosted a series of workshops throughout the west. each of which focused on a particular economic sector. the lessons learned from these and other activities have been memorialized in an online resource library and will be summarized in a report issued by the governors later this month at their annual meeting in lake tahoe. western governors enjoyed productive partnership with the
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federal government. this has lead to continuing work with the national administration on improved coordination and dissemination of drought and extreme weather, data and analysis to support the resource management decisions of states. likewise they support the cooperative water program of the u.s. geological survey as well as the snow survey activities of the national resources conservation service. these provide valuable data and information to inform state water resource decisions. the collaboration of state agencies in california for example lead to an expedited water transfer process among other benefits.
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furthermore, recognize the importance of infrastructure investments, the value of streams lined permitting for infrastructure and significance of federal support. the governors deeply appreciate the attention this committee is investing and look forward to working with you to craft solutions that both apply the substantial resources of the federal government and respect the authority and expertise of states to manage water within their boundaries. thank you for the tun here today. >> thank you. mr. michael welcome. >> good morning. i'd like to first of all thank the committee for this opportunity to be able to present on this important issue of the drought and thank the committee for taking the time for the attention on this matter. i'd like to especially thank the chairwoman for the leadership role she has taken in this effort and also for her recent visit to california to see the
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conditions for herself firsthand and greatly appreciate your comments that you started with. it means a great deal that you have taken it to heart and learned so much. i would offer anyone in this room the opportunity to come to our farm for a visit to see conditions for yourself firsthand. i'm here today representing the family farm alliance. we're a grass roots organization comprised of family farmers, ranchers, irrigation districts and allied industry groups that have representation through the 16 western states the main mission is to ensure the availability of reliable affordable irrigation water supplies for farmers and ranchers. i'm the 6th generation of my family to farm in the central valley. my great, great great grandfather came over from germany in the 1850s and became a successful cattle rancher and we're still fortunate to farm
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the land he settled on. as i sit here before you i have already fallowed 25% of my ground. i am now awaiting a decision which has just come up in the last few days which may take that number to 80% or higher. we mentioned regulations for fish a little bit earlier. the sole decision that may change my allocation and the trajectory of my farm this year is based on temperature modeling for fish only. there's not enough cold water available in storage for fish and that may completely eliminate all the collaborative work that's been done to provide some water supply for different water users this year so obviously a very disturbing time for me and my family. there's no denying in the last four years there's no denying that issues have been plaguing california but in that 15 -- in the last 15 month period there's also been significant rainfall events. very precious at the time of
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this critical drought. what we have seen over and over again is those the uncaptured part of those rain events have flowed out to the ocean and not able to be captured by our water system. california relice on an engineered water system that moves water through the sacramento delta where two third of the waterfalls in the north of the state to where 2-thirds of the population is in the south part of the state. it's a system that's worked for many years. now with this layering of regulations we've seen since the 1990s we is seen all flexibility be taken out of the system. as the federal government you have the opportunity to ensure that regulations when they are in place are implemented with some balance and accountability. it would be one thing to me if the last years of regulation and limitations if we had seen improvement in the fish species but we're not seeing that so there needs to be a clear look at those regulations and they
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need to have accountability and balance. i want to make the point quickly one fallowed acre has an extreme impact over a very large area. it's not just the income to a farmer. it represents loss of work to my people on the ground. if i don't run a tractor on that ground i don't buy tires parts fuels, all of those industries also suffer. it then means that i don't produce an actual product off that ground. that product then doesn't go to a processing plant or a supermarket it doesn't stock those shelves. it doesn't come out to something else that may be transported across the nation or across the world. i then may not take any financing. it effects the banks. it's a large ripple effect from one acre fallowed and it's -- we have over 800,000 acres being fallowed this year. the economic impact is huge. we've seen food prices rise and taken away sources of healthy
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fresh fruits and vegetables from people we have been telling they need to eat more of those products. 10 to 15% may not mean a lot if you have a disposal income but it means a lot if wrour on a low wage or you have a difficulty providing for your own family. we cannot take these products away from people. california farmers produce food in the most environmentally friendly ways in the world. l.a. times did an excellent expose on mexico where we're getting more and more food. they do not pay living wages or have environmental standards and do not have enforceable penalties. i'm out of time. everybody uses a lot of water every day. we all rely on water so we need to decide where we want those products from come from. every time you eat you're consuming water. every time you put on your clothes you're putting on water.
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do we want water to come from places like california, water products to come from there or do you want them to come from other countries. we have to start figuring out solutions. we need leadership from the federal government. we need your help and i'm asking for that today. thank you. >> thank you mr. michael. i appreciate the personal touch that you have clearly given to the issue here this morning and finally miss betsy cody welcome to the committee. >> thank you. thank you for the opportunity for crs to testify today on western drought conditions and challenges facing western managers. my testimony includes a discussion of potential options to address drought challenges crs does not take positions on legislative proposals or make recommendations to the congress. as you heard from others today here while more than 20% of the united states is experiencing moderate to exceptional drought
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much of the drought is concentrated in the west. although there's been slight improvements in some areas, higher than average temperatures and lower than average participation has resulted in run off in other areas. the short-term seasonal outlook is for the trends to continue in the far western states especially. long-term predictions those more than three months are more difficult to make. especially on a regional basis. chief among the challenges for western states is managing scarce water supplies and ensuring public health and safety in industry and other effects as you heard from many panel lists. states and local water entities typically lead efforts to prepare for a drought and you heard excellent examples of that today due to their primary role in water allocation. even without drought 80% expect water shortages within the next decade. key concerns range from
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population growth and lack of information on water availability and use to potential impacts of climate change and effects of extreme weather events such as foods and droughts. the bureau faces similar challenges especially for its large multiple purpose projects that involve balancing multiple objectives across large areas. challenges in the colorado river basin and for the central valley of california and to some degree the columbia river basin are prime examples. challenges include how to accommodate existing and new demanding including growing populations and competing uses while complying with federal and state environmental and other laws. as you heard again from the chairman and mr. connor as well they estimated that supply
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shortages for the colorado could be in effect as early as 2016 and 2017. meanwhile, central valley project water deliveries we have also heard have been significantly cut back effecting junior and senior water users fish and wildlife resources, recreation and other industries. smaller projects are also challenged by drought and experiencing water delivery cut backs. again we heard more of that today. the basin as an example and projects in new mexico. although there are wide range of options for addressing drought the federal rule in implementing options is not always clear cut. options can be categorized as follows. they're supply driven those that involve new governance or institutional structures and those that fund research planning and monitoring activities that support state and local efforts. all of these options have their pros and cons and involve trade
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offs. for example developing or augmenting supplies through construction of surface and ground water storage projects may provide more water but opportunity for supply systems are fewer than they once were and their costs are often significant. like wise developing water use can also be costly. project evaluations have also become more complex and lengthy. hence some observers suggest streamlining or removing federal regulations to facility project development operations while others are more protective of the status quo. to address authorization and funding issues some have called for an authorization process for that reenacted by the core of engineers and redevelopment act of 2014. they also call for public-private partnerships, authorization of nonfederal funding of some projects or
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coordinated funding and creation or reactivation of federal loan programs. some proposed institutional structures such as drought councils or water banks and water markets. a difficulty in expanding water markets is this relationship between state water rights and the federal government's rule and having deferred primarily to states and water allocation. lastly some commonly pursued options to support drought resil resilient resilients and response include drought planning monitoring and mitigation providing incentives and supporting technological research and development. in summary addressing drought in the west is a challenge for decision maker z as we have seen today at all levels off government. whether the federal government
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should continue or expand or pursue other legislative options is likely to be a matter of on going debate. that concludes my testimony. i'm happy to answer questions. thank you. >> thank you. i was hoping you were going to have the silver bullet and we could wrap this up. >> i wish i did. >> we all wish that you did. >> each and every one of you have mentioned collaboration, cooperation, flexibility but it seems that collaboration among our agencies whether on state side, federal side, working with our tribes, this is all key. we clearly hear that and yet we are still faced with a situation where the drought is extreme in places and the forecast is not looking very good and the uncertainty makes it even more
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difficult and more complicated. are there -- beyond what we see today and i'd be interested in hearing your perspective in what arizona is doing, are there ways that we can provide for greater collaboration with our federal agencies? what are the barriers we have right now that are limiting our opportunities to do more with less? i'm going to throw this out to all of you and i'll have to go vote but i'll be back for a follow up with this but if you want to lead off and i would ask all of you to weigh in on this. >> so first i'll say that the collaboration with the federal government with the department of interior has been exemplary so far. the biggest road block for further collaboration and
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dealing with drought sustain blt planning in the colorado river on the lower basin is really number one the drought in california has reduced their flexibility to participate in potential ways to save water in lake meade. second the environmental issues. water goes into the sea. we could save a lot of that water by creating efficiencies in that district but for the environmental issues and lastly honsest honestly the fact that they don't take shortages and only nevada and arizona do has created an unlevel playing field. we can use the help of the department of interior specifically on that issue find a way to create more equity on that negotiating table. >> comments on that?
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>> well i do agree that the issues tom has raised are the next wave of areas of collaboration that we have to deal with and some of those sultan sea is one of those areas. nonetheless, i can point in the colorado river basin where over the last 15 years, we've had 6 or 7 major agreements, reduced water use, that have increased storage in lake meade, created institutional mechanisms to incentivize the saving of water, and yet here we are facing significant percentage possibilities that we're going to face a shortage in 2016 and 2017. but yet the states are still at the table, we have a conservation agreement that we've all put together, upper basin and lower basin and the federal government to create
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more water to look for new ways to conserve and place more walter in lake meade, there's an mou that's just been agreed to, where i think the states are looking at mechanisms to create another million acre feat by 2018. and these are the mechanisms that we are going to have to finalize through our agreements. but the idea also is that we've got to create new relationships between the parties. and that's what we've been doing. i would just note real quickly that the success of the arizona water bank which has been tremendously successful, as i found out even more so this morning was facilitated in great part by the 2004 arizona water settlement act that the congress passed. it facilitated taking the
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colorado every year, a good portion of that has been stored to alleviate drought situations and it resolved two major indian water rights settlements. it's a combination of the investments we make for conservation, for looking at new storage opportunities, one of the more recent storage facilities we have is in the kohl cool river basin. a regulating reservoir saving 60 to 70,000 acre feat per year, keeping that water in lake meade, investments, new agreements, new relationships, and certainly i think for the sultan sea, we're going to have to look at new authorities, probably. >> thank you. >> i'll continue with you on this issue, thank you for visiting the northwest, i think you were out at yakima basin compact meeting years ago with myself and senator -- and then secretary salazar, and congressman hastings, along with others, i know you have great familiarity there. >> as we've seen the drought
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conditions persist over the years and tried to make plans for changes, you know, you mentioned increasing storage capacity, what are the major barriers for the department -- if we continue to do authorization project by project, and it takes years of planning and studying, again i'm not talking about changing environmental laws, what do we need to do to give more flexibility. what are the major barriers that exist to more rapid response to some of these conditions? >> well, i think obviously the larger the project, the more complicated, the more likely to impact other water users as well as the environment, and i think there's a fundamental question related to the economic feasibility of some of those larger projects. sometimes we have been focused on larger is better, but it boggs down our ability to move
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through permitting processions, et cetera. and i will give the yakima basin is a perfect example with the black rock reservoir proposal, which took a lot of time, which proved to be probably one of the more expensive ways to yield water supply. and when the numbers came out, i think it called into question whether it could be afforded and caused the parties to go back to the table to a much morrow bust and comprehensive approach to dealing with water supply issues from the environment to new water supply, to facilitating conservation efforts, and i think at the end of the day those smaller projects -- and we've been doing this in the yakima basin for 10 to 15 years. i think through a ten-year period from 2003 to 2013, we created 30 to 35,000 acre feat of reduced diversion demand. that water has been allocated to improve the conditions of the fishery, while also being
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retained by the irrigation community to help weather times of drought, i think we're making great advances through a series of smaller projects that i think are less controversial, that are more affordable and prove to be yielding -- adding to the bottom line, and bringing in more broad support, it's not always smaller is better, but i do think at times we get bogged down with the larger projects. >> you're reminding me that a process does solve most problems. that step of going through that larger exercise, it was a catalyst to bringing all the parties together at the table. as a hearing that i once chaired for this committee on the san
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joaquin, after 18 years of legal battles, people decided to come to the table. what do we need to do to provide more flexibility to the agency, to support those kinds of collaborative efforts? >> i think we have good authorities right now that allows us to participate as a cost share partner in a number of these projects. what's happening in a lot of cases, and i think we should look at more opportunities to facilitate this, the federal government is a participant in a lot of projects. i would concede that when the federal government leads a project development activity, there's a lot of hoops to be -- to leap through with respect to the regulatory permitting process, there's some of that when we participate, but in a lot of cases, the states and
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local entities are looking for federal permits as well as federal assistance with respect to cost share. we have our trust responsibility in the yakima nation. we have the gomes with -- we all have respective fisheries, and we have a federal project that we want to maintain its viability. in a lot of cases, i think facilitating the federal government to be a partner in these efforts, whether they're conservation projects, environmental restoration projects, as a partner, providing flexibility from a financing standpoint for nonfederal entities will help facilitate results. >> thank you. >> thank you all for being here. it's great to see tom here and first question for you, you talk about lake meade, it looks like we're in our 16th year of below average runoff. lake meade is going to hit the fall below the 1,075 feet mark over the next two years, and will trigger the shortage
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declaration. you talk about structural deficits, you touched on it in your comments. can you explain that further, evaporation, delivery losses and how that affects allocation? >> the structural deficit is a function of the fact that those losses in evaporation losses, the volumes of water in the lower basin, nevada, colorado, mexico, in a decree, each state's allocation was for the total consumeptive use. so more water has to really be in the system for actual use. and so that impacts the lower basin by driving lake meade toward shortage, even in normal years. the brunt of, again, those impacts fall on those who take shortage, basically california does not take shortage there are also impacts to the upper basin states, colorado, wyoming, mexico, utah potentially 37 and so they incorporate the uses.
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because lake powell and lake meade are con junktively balanced, the losses not being accounted for, versus more water from lake powell to go to lake meade, the potential impacts there are loss of revenues. most power revenues are used to fund environmental programs and other things in the upper basin, and also lake meade and powell continue to drop, potentially those upper basins curtailment under the 1922 contract if they can't deliver over a 10-year period to the lower basin. >> during the times of water storage in the west, we often see these contracts portrayed as agriculture.
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will you explain how these tensions will be dealt with in arizona, where we're trying to allow growing urban economy, but still maintain healthy agricultural economy? >> there are some tens in arizona between our senior priority users for the colorado river in the yuma, arizona area, in the cities in central arizona, who take central arizona project water, we've been working with the central arizona project and


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