President’s memo cements deadline for Columbia River system reviews


Today, President Trump signed a memorandum to reduce regulatory burdens and promote more efficient environmental reviews of water infrastructure projects in the West, including the Columbia-Snake River System. Decades of uncoordinated regulatory actions have diminished the ability of Federal infrastructure to deliver needed water and have increased costs in the West. Court actions dictating water operations have further complicated the regulatory environment.

The President has directed the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce to:

  • Streamline regulatory processes and remove unnecessary burdens.
  • Develop a timeline for completing compliance requirements for major water projects.
  • Responsibly expedite ongoing environmental reviews.
  • Convene water experts and resource managers to develop an action plan for improving seasonal forecasts of water availability.
  • Expand the use of technologies to improve the delivery of water and power.
  • Consider the views of local operators during hydroelectric relicensing proceedings.

The President’s memorandum will benefit major water infrastructure projects in order to more effectively meet the demands of water users in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The Administration will expedite biological opinions for the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project in California; Klamath Irrigation Project in Oregon; and the Federal Columbia River System in the Pacific Northwest.

The memorandum establishes timelines for environmental reviews of infrastructure projects, allowing the best information to guide conservation of endangered or threatened species. The timelines also allow for robust environmental review processes. Agencies will make determinations regarding endangered and threatened species based on the best available scientific and commercial data.

Both Politico and the Capital Press have released articles about the memo.