Floor Speech on H.R. 610, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 610, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the recognition. And I thank our distinguished Member from the District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes Norton, for her leadership and her recognition on this important issue.
Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation – so proud of Representative Jackie Speier, with whom I have the privilege of co-representing San Francisco. Jackie Speier has been our champion on the San Francisco Bay. And this San Francisco Bay Restoration Act is a vital step to restoring our cherished Bay. It is an honor to be joined in this legislation with other Bay Area colleagues: Jared Huffman, John Garamendi, Mike Thompson, Jerry McNerney, Mark DeSaulnier, Barbara Lee, Ro Khanna, Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren and others, and also thank Senators Feinstein and Padilla, who have introduced a Senate companion bill.
Madam Speaker, Members, you may not know, but the San Francisco Bay is an icon of California and a national treasure, inspiring us with its beauty and its might, enriching our lives with world-class recreation and tourism and jobs.
The Bay Area and the Bay Area Delta of which it is a part is also the economic lifeblood of our coast, contributing over $370 billion in our economy each year and supporting more than four million jobs.
As part of the Bay Area, the Bay Delta Estuary – it is a vital part of public health, providing drinking water for millions of Californians; a key force in combating the climate crisis.
But for centuries, this magnificent Estuary has been over-exploited and under-protected. Today, 90 percent of the Bay Area's wetlands have been destroyed, undermining the strength of our coastal economies and communities.
The San Francisco Bay Restoration Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, championed by her – the Bay being championed by her over the years – would make long overdue $125 million – with an ‘M’ – investment in restoration efforts. It improves coordination from San Francisco to Washington as it revives our wetlands to protect our coastal communities, improves our water quality, strengthens our climate resilience, including by combating sea level rise.
In 2018, the GAO concluded that a centralized initiative, providing improved coordination and communication across efforts, along with a dedicated federal funding will be the best chance for long-term restoration and protection of this vital geographic area on the West Coast. And this bill, introduced by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, provides exactly that.
Californians have fought to increase appropriations for [the] Bay Area for years, and we are grateful for the support of then-Chair Nita Lowey in the Appropriations Committee and Interior Chair Betty McCollum. We secured an increase of $3 million in funding for the Bay. Last year, with the support of Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio, and hence the Committee of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Water Subcommittee Chair Grace Napolitano, the House passed this Bay Restoration Act by a voice vote, and then again, as part of our infrastructure H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. Now, we want to make it the law of the land.
Our communities, our lives are heavily enriched by the Bay Delta Estuary. This investment is an economic health, environmental and moral imperative.
I urge Members to support it with a strong bipartisan support. And I hope that it will be bipartisan on the part of our colleagues on the West Coast, who know the value and the quality of life that the Bay Estuary project brings to us. With that, I urge a yes vote and yield back the balance of my time, Madam Speaker.