Barr, who sponsored and passed the legislation in 1997 creating the tri-state water compact, urged the involved parties to move forward with a fair and balanced agreement. “I recognize this is a complex issue, but simply doing nothing and leaving this up to the courts, is a disservice to the people we represent and the responsibilities we have been given. I urge all parties involved to move forward in good faith and with full public participation.”
In testimony before the Subcommittee last week, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised Barr’s leadership on this issue, stating, “If you had not worked so hard to get this compact legislation through the House in a timely manner back in 1997, we would not be here today; we would be fighting this out in litigation.” Gingrich was highly critical of the performance of the three states in reaching agreement, noting they have “consistently fallen below the mark” in failing to put politics aside and developing a water agreement based on science and need rather than politics.
Responding to testimony by the Hon. Lindsay Thomas, Federal Commissioner for the ACT and ACF River Basin Commissions, who called for an additional extension of the compact agreements, Barr indicated he would be supportive of another extension, but only if progress continued to be made towards a final agreement. “I am supportive of the negotiation process, but this support is not unconditional or indefinite — we must continue to move forward. I urge all parties to move forward towards this important goal and reach a fair agreement that will benefit the millions of people we represent, without the need for Congress to step in with further legislation.