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WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed several priority bills for U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) with strong bipartisan support. These pieces of legislation are especially critical to Idaho as they will allow for greater flexibility for water storage programs and remove a roadblock to responsible forest management efforts on federal lands. Additionally, a Risch-supported bill to waive special event fees for veterans also passed the committee.

All three bills will be considered by the full Senate next.

“I thank Chairman Manchin, Ranking Member Barrasso, and my committee colleagues for advancing these commonsense bills,” said Risch. “Some of the most important assets Idahoans have is our land and water. These bills will help us actively manage our forests to protect against catastrophic wildfire and improve our ability to store and conserve our water. I am pleased to see these bills advance to the full Senate, as well as legislation that will ensure veterans are rightfully honored for their sacrifice.”

More about the bills:

S. 4176: Introduced by Risch, this legislation will broaden a program to help address certain dams with critical maintenance issues and increase flexibility for small storage grants to help store and conserve water.

S. 2561: Led by Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and cosponsored by Risch, this bill will reverse the disastrous Cottonwood decision, removing a requirement that the Forest Service reinitiate consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service on ready-to-go land management projects every time “new information” emerges about potential effects on endangered species.

S. 3240, the Free Veterans from Fees Act: Introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and cosponsored by Risch, the bill will waive the application fee for veterans to hold special events at Washington, D.C. war memorials.

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