Legislative Update

The “Bringing Water to Life” podcast team of Brent Mecham, Elizabeth McCartney and John Farner tell the story of water using their expertise and personal opinions on issues surrounding water.

The Irrigation Association continues to focus on influencing the national and state policy debate by promoting efficient irrigation. Throughout the year, the IA has engaged in ongoing conversations about water use and has worked to promote incentives for efficient technologies. The irrigation industry can offer unique solutions to current policy issues, and IA is focused on maintaining relationships with stakeholders in the broader agriculture and landscape industries to advance irrigation industry priorities.

What Effect Will the New Administration & Congress Have on the Irrigation Industry?

By Elizabeth McCartney

President-elect Donald Trump is now close to his inauguration. Immediately following the November election, Trump met with President Barack Obama to begin the transition process. Since then, current White House officials and Trump’s team have been working to ensure a seamless transition of power.

The Trump administration must fill the approximately 4,000 government positions left vacant by the departing administration. About 1,200 of these positions need confirmation by the Senate, including cabinet officials and agency heads. Congress will begin considering nominees upon its return. These nominees will include the secretary of agriculture, secretary of the interior and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Besides the critical cabinet confirmations, Trump will begin working with the Republican-controlled Congress to implement policies within his 100-day plan.

10 Irrigation TODAY | January 2017

Many of his immediate goals are reflections of key campaign promises (e.g., building a wall, withdrawal from trade agreement). However, Trump has also signaled a swift movement away from the environmental policies of the last eight years.

As suggested by Trump during his campaign, his administration will focus on deregulation and limiting the number of new regulations. These goals could signal an end to the implementation of the EPA’s Clean Water Rule. The Irrigation Association had been working alongside coalition partners to stop this rule, also referred to as “Waters of the United States.” The goal was to get the agency to develop a more reasonable rule through a robust process with greater input from stakeholders, including industry groups. A Trump administration may also work to limit the EPA’s power by requesting less money from Congress for the agency. It remains unknown how these possible budget cuts would affect the EPA WaterSense program. WaterSense is an irrigation industry- supported initiative.

Trump has been clear about his commitment to improving infrastructure in the United States. He also recently indicated his support for investments in water infrastructure. Water infrastructure

appears as a priority within the document describing plans for the first 100 days of his presidency. This was not a focal point of Trump’s presidential campaign; however, he did align himself with agricultural interests on water issues that arose during the campaign.

As the 115th Congress begins its work in

2017, congressional members will begin working on the 2018 farm bill. Every five years, Congress must reauthorize the bill that shapes U.S. agriculture policies. What this means for the irrigation industry is that farm conservation programs will be under review. The IA will advocate for voluntary programs that support efficient irrigation, encourage the adoption of other water- efficient technologies and recognize IA- certified irrigation professionals.

To learn more about what a Trump administration may focus on in 2017 and how the IA will work on behalf of the industry, listen to the association’s recent post-election webinar, which can be found on smartirrigationmonth. This webinar was part of the “Bringing Water to Life” webinar series that will continue in 2017. In addition to these webinars, a weekly BWTL podcast focused on telling the story of water is also available online at

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