1978 Scorecard Vote
(HR 8309). The vote is on the Cranston amendment to nullify the Gravel amendment, which would have exempted the Kings River water users In California from the 160 acre limitation imposed on them by law. Environmentalists supported Cranston's effort to enforce the 1902 Federal Reclamation Act which said that federally-subsidized irrigation water could be provided only to small farmers. If this measure were strictly and vigorously enforced. It would break up the powerful agribusiness interests that are now growing rice and other water-intensive crops in semi-arid regions of the West. This would in turn reduce the political and economic pressure for more Bureau of Reclamation projects. Many of the California crops could be grown more easily in the South and East without irrigation and thus without the need for new dams. But eastern farmers can't compete and western farmers get federal water at ridiculously low prices. Pressure to enforce the 160 acre limit will probably drive up water prices and thus encourage water conservation. Many environmentalists would also like to help the small farmer compete successfully with agribusiness, believing that small resident farmers will have more respect for their land. Adopted 52-37; May 2, 1978. Yes is the correct vote.