Industry and agriculture provide livelihood for our state and bolster the Kansas economy. They provide jobs for our citizens and food for our tables. Corporations and individuals operating in these fields must conduct their businesses in a way that is protective of human health and the environment. One-size-fits-all regulation won’t work.
The House Committee on Water spent the last two years studying the state’s water crisis. The committee’s goal was to develop a plan to improve how water is managed and protected in Kansas. Aquifer depletion, reservoir sedimentation, and drinking water contamination are alarming. We must change course. The water reform bill was a long-term, sustainable funding source for water that would restructure state agencies, add a cabinet-level position, and increase opportunities for citizen engagement in groundwater governance. Unfortunately, the bill was gutted, and Kansas lost the opportunity to protect our water resources. We will try again next year.
There is good news – we fully funded the State Water Plan including water projects, programs, and paying down debts.
I believe that industries have an inherent responsibility to be stewards of the environment and have a seat at the table to find solutions. We must work together to protect our air and water resources by leveraging technologies and implementing industry-specific best practices. Kansas should invest in biotechnology, infrastructure, wind and solar energy, and transportation alternatives.