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House Denies Emergency Watershed Protection Amendment [Updated]

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The U.S. House of Representatives rejected a $125 million amendment to a Sandy disaster relief bill for emergency watershed protection Tuesday.

Update 4:05 P.M. :  Congressman Cory Gardner says while the emergency watershed protection funding was not included in the Hurricane Sandy disaster relief bill, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Hal Rogers has committed, on record, to work toward future funding for Colorado wildfire restoration and disaster assistance in future House bills. Gardner adds the Senate may accept the House version of the disaster relief bill as it stands, however there is a possibility the funding could be added in a Senate amendment, which is a route the congressman is working toward and agrees with. Our original post continues:

The funding could have provided Colorado with critical watershed restoration resources for areas including Larimer, Weld and El Paso Counties following last summer's deadly wildfires.

Congressman Cory Gardner (CO-4) says he’s disappointed the amendment was rejected since watersheds remain at significant risk of continued damage.

“FEMA will most likely cover costs, or at least part of costs for mudslides and debris flow.  They will provide grants and money to mitigate after the fact, after the damage has occurred. But this is actually trying to provide help before the damage occurs.”

Gardner was joined by fellow Colorado Republicans Scott Tipton (CO-7) and Doug Lamborn (CO-5), as well as Democrats Ed Perlmutter (CO-7) and Jared Polis (CO-2) in support of the amendment.

Democratic Senator Michael Bennet had championed the funding in the U.S. Senate along with Colorado Senator Mark Udall.

In a statement Bennet says eastern states should have the resources they need to recover from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, but Colorado also needs support after enduring wildfires in the midst of one of the worst droughts in decades.

“It is extremely disappointing to see the House of Representatives move forward with a bill that does not include critical resources Colorado needs to recover and protect its water supply – resources that were included in the Senate bill that received bipartisan support.”

Bennet says he could re-introduce the issue in the Senate now that the House has failed to act.

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