For Immediate Release
Date: August 26, 2016
Contact: Steven D. Smith
PHOENIX, AZ - Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer penned the following op-ed promoting the facts of the Bill Williams River Water Rights Settlement Act (H.R. 4924), legislation signed into law in December 2014. H.R. 4924 supports thousands of good-paying jobs, 175 in Mohave County alone, and results in a significant net water benefit to the basin. Congressman Gosar has created a comprehensive fact page on his website with information about this legislation HERE.
Setting the Record Straight on the Bill Williams Water Rights Settlement Act By: Glenn Hamer President and CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry August 25, 2016
In response to this article in the Mohave Valley Daily News, Arizona Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Glenn Hamer submitted the following letter to the editor in an attempt to correct and clarify the facts surrounding The Bill Williams Water Rights Settlement Act of 2014.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes it is important to correct the record regarding The Bill Williams Water Rights Settlement Act of 2014, which was discussed in a recent article about the Mohave Republican Forum (“Water transfer hot topic at debate,” Aug. 11).
Statements regarding lost property tax revenue in Mohave and La Paz counties resulting from the transfer of Planet and Lincoln Ranch water rights and reportedly putting lands into the Hualapai tribal trust deserve correction and clarification.
Various state, federal and private parties who hold water rights in the Bill Williams Watershed entered into discussions to prevent a potential decades-long legal battle over water. The parties reached agreement in 2014 requiring an Act of Congress given the federal and tribal interests.
Through the settlement, a portion of the privately owned Planet Ranch lands and water rights were donated to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission (AZGFC) to facilitate implementation of a habitat restoration program that helps Arizona protect its rights to the Colorado River, which is a tremendous economic benefit to the state and to its counties. Prior to the approval by Congress, the AZGFC agreed to compensate both Mohave and La Paz Counties for any future impact to property tax revenues by voluntarily paying the counties taxes on the donated portions of Planet Ranch. Therefore, the reported loss of tax revenue never occurred as taxes will be paid on the private portions of the Ranches and AZGFC will continue to pay taxes on the donated lands. Furthermore, the AZGFC opened the donated lands to public access for recreation, a significant new benefit to both counties
The August 11 article also reported that the settlement placed land into the Hualapai tribal trust, which is inaccurate. The settlement simply provides the Tribe the opportunity to purchase a limited number of lands in a competitive process if the land is ever put up for sale. There are no guarantees that the land will ever be sold to the Tribe, nor is there any promise that the land would be placed into the tribal trust.
Lastly, the settlement and the associated Act of Congress ensure that up to 30,000 acre feet of water in Mohave County claimed by private interests would not be used and would remain in the river systems. Without the settlement and Act of Congress, this water could have been used, but instead is left to the benefit of the Counties and riparian systems.
Settling longstanding water rights disputes are difficult and complicated, but doing so results in a secure economic environment for Arizona’s businesses and its citizens. The settlement and Act prevented litigation, resulted in no lost tax revenues to the counties, opened land for recreation, left water in the rivers, and helped to safeguard Arizona’s Colorado River rights.
Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and IndustryRead More
For Immediate Release
Date: August 25, 2016
Contact: Steven D. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, announced their intention to pursue countless “sue and settle” lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in an effort to arbitrarily force the listing of hundreds of additional species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):
“Extremist environmentalist groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), announced their intent this week to unleash several hundred more frivolous lawsuits against the Fish and Wildlife Service. These organizations have a long history of abusing the ESA in order to force taxpayers to pay millions of dollars in government legal fees defending these arbitrary lawsuits.
“The truth is that misguided groups like CBD are simply using 'sue and settle' tactics to fund and implement their radical agenda. This behavior sets a dangerous legal precedent that must be stopped. Congress must reform the ESA to protect federal agencies from deceptive legal attacks from outside groups that do more harm than good to animals on the verge of extinction. Such legislative action includes increasing transparency for species listings and placing maximum amounts on awards of attorney’s fees by making the ESA conform to the Equal Access to Justice Act.”
(Courtesy of the Congressional Western Caucus) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is approaching the end of a five year, 757 species work plan dictated by a court order drafted behind closed doors because of lawsuits brought by litigation happy groups like the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Now the CBD is threatening to sue again on an additional 417 species, including 87 plants and 235 invertebrates such as snails, mussels, and beetles. The FWS had hoped the 2011 settlement would finally relieve them of the endless litigation it has faced since 2007, but it has only emboldened the CBD and other serial litigants.
(Courtesy of Congressman Gosar) Marita Noon reported, “Over a three-year period, 2009-2012…American taxpayers footed the bill for more than $53 million in so-called environmental groups’ legal fees—and the actual number could be much higher… The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) brags about its use of lawsuits to block development—but it is not just oil and gas they block, it is virtually all human activity.” Amos Eno, who has been involved in conservation for four decades, told Noon: “CBD doesn’t care about the critters. They are creating a listing pipeline and then making money off of it.”
In November 2015, the House passed the bipartisan Collins-Gosar bill requiring tracking and disclosure of attorney fees paid out from environmental lawsuits. Prior to 1995, Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) payments were approximately $3 million dollars annually. Unfortunately, EAJA has operated in the dark for more than 20 years and payments have skyrocketed. The Government Accountability Office recently confirmed that we don’t even know the totality of these costs as most federal agencies don’t even bother trying to compile this information. H.R. 3279, the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act, tracks how much money is paid out under EAJA, and more importantly, from which agencies. Click HERE to read more.
Congressman Gosar has previously cosponsored the following legislation that aims to reform the serious deficiencies in the ESA:
H.R.4315, the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act, would require federal agencies to make any information used to make an ESA decision available to the public and accessible on the Internet.
H.R.4316, the Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act, would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to disclose to Congress and online: the amount of taxpayer dollars spent responding to ESA lawsuits; the number of employees utilized by the Fish and Wildlife Service for litigation purposes; and the amount of attorney’s fees awarded in ESA lawsuits and settlements.
H.R.4317, the State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act, would require the federal government to divulge to affected states all data it uses to justify ESA decisions. It would also require the government to consult with affected states, tribes and local governments and utilize their data when formulating decisions.
H.R.4318, the Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act, would place maximum amounts on awards of attorney’s fees by making the ESA conform to the Equal Access to Justice Act, which limits the prevailing hourly fee for attorneys to $125 per hour.Read More
For Immediate Release
Date: August 24, 2016
Contact: Steven D. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after sending a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Director, Daniel Ashe, seeking answers to arbitrary and lawless decisions made by his agency that effectively closed off recreational boating on Lake Havasu in May of 2015:
“While stakeholders of Lake Havasu were successful in temporarily stopping the Service from expanding its arbitrary boating restrictions in April of 2016, we are not out of the woods yet. There are still countless questions that need to be answered by Service leaders and the agency has flat out refused to reopen the area that kicked off this controversy.
“To date, not a single Service employee has been fired or held accountable for their egregious conduct in attempting to shut down waterskiing, tubing and wakeboarding on Lake Havasu. Shamefully, former Havasu Refuge Manager, Linda Miller, who bears the brunt of the responsibility for this mess, appears to have even been promoted. Until the Service comes clean and unconditionally withdraws the May 2015 boating restrictions, it will continue to hear from the people of Lake Havasu, other Members of Congress and me about this lawless decision. I will not quit in my fight to keep Lake Havasu open for all users.”
The full letter sent to Director Daniel Ashe can be found HERE.
This letter responds to the Service’s August 2, 2016 response to a letter sent by 22 bipartisan Members of Congress on July 11, 2016, calling on the Service to reopen the “Ryde Spot” on Lake Havasu. That original letter can be found HERE.
On July 14, 2016, the House passed the Gosar amendment with unanimous support to prohibit funds for the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to continue restricting tubing, waterskiing and wake boarding in a ½ mile area (the Ryde Spot) on Lake Havasu as a result of a May 2015 press release. More HERE.
On May 20, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued new motorized boating restrictions that arbitrarily expanded a no wake zone on Lake Havasu, effectively prohibiting tubing, waterskiing and wake boarding in an area utilized by recreational enthusiasts for decades. This terrible new mandate was announced and implemented just two days before Memorial Day Weekend – an economically vital tourist weekend for Lake Havasu City. Further, it was done behind closed doors, with no notice and no opportunity for public comment. A Freedom of Information Act request from my office revealed this action was not based on merit or science. The Arizona Game and Fish Department submitted formal comments stating that the Service did not “justify this additional restriction and that the impacts to recreation could be significant.”
Rather than reopening this area that was supposed to only be closed "temporarily," the Service doubled down less than a year later and threatened to close even more areas on Lake Havasu to motorized boating activities. Specifically, the Service announced a draft recreational boating compatibility determination (CD) on April 12, 2016, and the agency’s intent to pursue even more restrictions that were based on an agenda, not science or need. The CD aimed to close significant portions of Lake Havasu to recreational boating activities and prevent waterskiing, tubing, wake boarding, fishing and other recreationally towed devices within the 4,000-acre manmade Topock Marsh and on an additional 520 acres on Lake Havasu. On June 16, 2016, the people of Lake Havasu City scored a significant victory in the fight against bureaucratic overreach when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would withdraw its April 2016 proposed boating restrictions for Lake Havasu. Rep. Gosar was instrumental in this victory and kicked off comments at a public meeting that was attended by more than a 1,000 people.
While the June 16, 2016, victory was monumental, the Service has failed to reopen the ½ mile area (the Ryde Spot) closed to recreational boating activities in May of 2015 that started this controversy. This failure is extremely misguided as boaters spend more than $150 million annually, support over 2,000 jobs and generate more than $63 million for Lake Havasu City's economy. Further, the May 2015 restrictions were not based on Science or merit.
Congressman Gosar has created a comprehensive information page on his website HERE documenting all relevant facts of this issue as well as a timeline of important events.
For Immediate Release
Date: August 5, 2016
Contact: Steven D. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced the completion of a new water intake system for the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery which will allow rainbow trout production to resume:
“Today, Arizonans have achieved another monumental win against bureaucratic overreach. I’m proud to have led the fight to protect the trout-stocking program at Willow Beach on behalf of local anglers and small business owners whose livelihoods depend on this critical hatchery. Nearly 1,700 jobs in Mohave County and close to $75 million in economic output associated with the Willow Beach Hatchery were at stake.
“This victory is a result of the hard work and vigilance of the many individuals and groups who spoke out in one unified voice declaring that we refuse to let the misguided agenda of federal bureaucrats infringe on our way of life and our economy. The return of the trout-stocking program at Willow Beach should inspire all Americans to remember that when ‘we the people’ stand together and take bold action against big government overreach, we can win. I look forward to joining my fellow anglers and catching Rainbow Trout grown right here in Arizona real soon.”
In November 2013, the Service arbitrarily changed the priorities for the five different propagation program categories and announced their intent to close propagation programs and possibly hatcheries throughout the nation in fiscal year 2015. The Service also terminated the rainbow trout stocking program at the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery threatening 1,700 jobs and $75 million in associated economic output.
The infrastructure problems at the hatchery began nearly five years ago, when broken pipelines and low water levels threatened trout production at the facility. The loss of the trout stocking would have had a devastating economic effect on the communities in Mohave County, Arizona. The state’s sport fishing industry relies on the national hatchery system for more than 97 percent of sport fish stocked in Arizona.
The recreational fishing propagation programs that are on the Fish and Wildlife’s hit list are the only hatchery programs that generate any substantive revenues for local economies. The trout stocking propagation programs in Arkansas and Oklahoma are so successful that a recent economic analysis found that for “every $1 of hatchery operational budget spent, $95 was put back into the economy.”
In order to prevent the Service from terminating important fishing propagation programs at federal fish hatcheries throughout the country, Congressman Gosar introduced the Fish Hatchery Protection Act, H.R. 5026 during the 113th Congress. This important legislation aimed to preserve propagation fish hatcheries and propagation programs within the National Fish Hatchery System and stipulates that only the Congress can authorize the termination or significant alteration of such facilities or programs. H.R. 5026 passed the House Natural Resources Committee in July of 2014. The bill was endorsed by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the American Sportfishing Association.
During the hearing on H.R. 5026, Congressman Gosar was able to secure a commitment from Deputy Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, Steve Guertin, that if the broken water supply line was fixed, then the rainbow trout stocking program would resume at the Willow Beach Hatchery. This was a significant change, as the Service had previously inflated the cost to fix the water supply line several millions of dollars and stated it was terminating the rainbow trout stocking program to focus on suckers and chubs.
On October 27, 2014, Congressman Gosar received a letter from the Service announcing it was reversing its decision and that “once a sufficient and reliable water supply has been fully reestablished, the Service intends to resume rainbow trout production at the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery.”
Congressman Gosar has created an informational page on his website about his efforts to protect the trout-stocking program at the Willow Beach Fish Hatchery. That page can be found HERE.
For Immediate Release
Date: July 27, 2016
Contact: Steven D. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of State (State Department) announced plans to expand the Central American Minors (CAM) program which uses taxpayer dollars to fly unlawful immigrants from Central American countries to the United States:
“Rather than securing the border, the president continues to pour gasoline on our immigration crisis by making it easier for unlawful immigrants to enter the country. The Obama Administration admitted it has no clue how many unlawful immigrants from Central American countries will be flown into America as a result of expanding this unconstitutional amnesty program. This action blatantly violates federally mandated immigration caps as well as Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution.
“The Obama Administration has tried to hide the truth about the CAM program from the American people since its inception. It has stonewalled Congressional inquiries after Americans were outraged to learn that their tax dollars were being used to fly unlawful immigrants from Central America to the United States. This expansion will allow any family member and virtually anyone claiming to be a ‘caregiver’ of an unlawful immigrant minor to receive amnesty and eventually U.S. citizenship.
“President Obama’s amnesty continues to undermine our national security and put the safety of the American people at risk. This obsession to erase our southern border is just another example of the president’s utter contempt for the Rule of Law and American sovereignty. Congress has never authorized or appropriated one penny for the CAM program. I call on House leadership to take action and terminate this unconstitutional program by passing the Central American Amnesty Termination Act.”
Under the CAM program, the Obama Administration allows unlawful immigrants from three Central American countries to fly to the United States and be admitted into the United States. The CAM program provides cash, loans for flights, reimbursements for DNA testing, as well as medical assistance to participants in the program. CAM participants can obtain a green card within one year of receiving “refugee” status, gain citizenship after five years and are immediately eligible for taxpayer-funded benefits like Obamacare.
On July 26, 2016, the Obama Administration expanded the CAM program to allow entire Central American families and anyone claiming to be a “caregiver” to be admitted to the U.S through this unconstitutional amnesty program.
On April 29, 2016, Congressman Gosar introduced H.R. 5141, the Central American Amnesty Termination Act, which terminates funding for the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program and any successor programs. The CAM program promotes lawlessness and incentivizes further illegal immigration. The full text of H.R. 5141 can be found HERE.
In March 2016, Congressman Gosar spearheaded an appropriations rider, supported by 20 members, calling on the House to defund the unconstitutional CAM program. To read more click HERE.
The State Department reports that the CAM program has received applicants from more than 9,500 unlawful aliens, admitted 267 Central American alien minors and approved applications for another 2,880 unlawful immigrants. Furthermore, at least 16 parents who completed an Affidavit of Relationship under the CAM program were Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported that more than 40,000 unlawful immigrant minors have been apprehended at the southwest border in fiscal year 2016 alone, a 62 percent increase from last year.
The Associated Press obtained information through a Freedom of Information Act request which revealed that, of the 71,000 unaccompanied alien minors placed with sponsors in the United States from February 2014 to September 2015, most of whom were from Central America, 80 percent were placed with other illegal aliens living in the United States.
The Central American Amnesty Termination Act is endorsed by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA.
H.R. 5141 currently has 21 cosponsors including: Representatives Brian Babin, Lou Barletta, Diane Black, Dave Brat, Mo Brooks, Scott DesJarlais, Jeff Duncan, Louie Gohmert, Glenn Grothman, Tim Huelskamp, Walter Jones, Steve King, Kenny Marchant, John Mica Steve Palazzo, Mike Rogers, Dana Rohrabacher, Matt Salmon, Austin Scott, Pete Sessions and Randy Weber.
504 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Paul A. Gosar, DDS hails from Prescott, Arizona and is serving his second term in Congress as the Representative from Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District. As a health care provider and small business owner, Gosar is focused on bringing jobs back to the district, reforming health care, reining in government spending, and ensuring that the American people are involved in the solution making process.
Before being elected to Congress in 2010, Gosar owned his own dental practice in Flagstaff for twenty-five years. His experience in Dentistry earned him the recognition of the Arizona Dental Association’s “Dentist of the Year,” and he was also inducted into the Arizona Dental Association’s Hall of Fame. His experience in working to reform health care first came when he served as the President of the Arizona Dental Association and as the Vice-Chair of the American Dental Association Council on Governmental Affairs.
Whether Gosar is in Washington fighting for his constituents, or back home in Arizona listening to the people and working together to find solutions to the problems that face Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District, he remains committed to ushering in a new era of government that empowers individuals and reforms the bureaucratic procedures that stifle job creation and innovation.
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While stakeholders of Lake Havasu were successful in temporarily stopping the Fish and Wildlife Service from expanding its arbitrary boating