H. R. 6331
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
November 15, 2006
Mr. Everett (for himself, Mr. Bonner, and Mr. Rogers of Alabama) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture
To amend the environmental quality incentives program of the Department of Agriculture to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to provide assistance to active agricultural producers for the construction of reservoirs as part of their agricultural operations for the storage of water, and for other purposes.
Ground and surface water conservation assistance under environmental quality incentives program
Assistance for construction of water reservoirs
Subsection (a)(4) of section 1240I of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–9) is amended by striking
water banking inserting
the construction of reservoirs to be used for water storage in agricultural operations, water banking,.
Special rules for provision of assistance
Such section is further amended—
by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d); and
by inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsection:
Special rules for assistance for reservoir construction
Waiver of irrigation requirements
The Secretary may not require, as a precondition for making cost-sharing or incentive payments available to a producer under this section for the construction of a water reservoir, that the agricultural operations of the producer utilize irrigation in the production of a commodity.
Maximum amount of assistance
In making cost-sharing or incentive payments to a producer under this section for the construction of a water reservoir, the Secretary may not pay more than 50 percent of the cost of constructing the reservoir.
Considerations of cost-effectiveness
If the Secretary determines that two or more applications for assistance for the construction of a water reservoir are comparable in achieving the conservation purposes of this section, the Secretary shall assign a higher priority to those applications for reservoir construction projects that would be the most cost-effective in achieving the conservation purposes of this section. In determining the cost-effectiveness of a proposed project, the Secretary shall consider both the cost per square foot acre of water and the cost per acre of irrigated land.
Required use in agricultural operations
As a condition on the receipt of assistance under this section for the construction of a water reservoir, the producer shall agree to maintain the lands to be served by the reservoir in agricultural production for at least five years after the date of completion of the reservoir.
If the Secretary determines, on the record after an opportunity for a hearing, that a producer has failed to comply with the agreement required by paragraph (4), the Secretary shall require the producer to repay to the Secretary all or a part of the assistance provided for the construction of the reservoir. The repayment amount required shall be based on the severity and duration of the violation.