Lake Mead Overlook
Boulder City, Nevada
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Congresswoman Titus, thank you for the warm welcome and for your many years of leadership on this issue in the United States Congress.
Congressman Horsford, you so eloquently talked about the intergenerational impact of this issue, and it will continue to be an intergenerational impact. And I’ve spent time with you in your district and know of your longstanding leadership on this issue, even before you entered Congress.
And, Congresswoman Lee, thank you for the warm welcome to your district and for your leadership and the invitation to join you here today.
So, this is a fundamental issue, which is the issue of water — literally, the issue of water.
As the congressmembers have mentioned, every living thing depends and requires on water and its existence and its prevalence.
And what we are seeing in this nation and around the world is that this climate crisis — fueled by, in many, if not most ways, by human behaviors — has resulted in the moment where we’re looking at this beautiful American landmark, the product of a lot of thought over generations about how we can supply, in particular, the states of Nevada, Arizona, California, and including Mexico, with the water that 25 million people rely on.
This is such a fundamental issue. And so, when we talk about the Build Back Better Agenda, it is an agenda — let’s break it down: What is Build Back Better? What is the Build Back Better Agenda? It’s about climate, it’s about families, and it’s about jobs. And so — and it’s about health.
And all of these issues are present when we look at the issues that are impacting Lake Mead as an example of what is happening around the country, not to mention the fact that, right now, all — of all the western states, 90 percent of the western states are facing some level of drought.
So, when we look at what’s happening here, we know this is about this lake, but it is about a region and it is about our nation.
The Build Back Better Agenda is thoughtful and foresightful, and it really is transformational in the way it will address these issues.
So, on the issue of the drought, the infrastructure — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, combined with the Build Back Better Agenda, is about what we need to do to invest in things like water, recycling, and reuse; what we can do in terms of water desalination; what we can do in terms of implementation of drought contingency plans.
This is about thinking ahead, recognizing where we are and where we’re headed — if we don’t address these issues with a sense of urgency, understanding this is literally about life.
On the issue of jobs, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, as was mentioned during our tour, will be about good union jobs — the work that needs to be done to help us build up resiliency, adaptation, and also combat the climate crisis. That’s about the jobs that are about pipe fitters, electricians, plumbers. These are good union jobs that are about restoring our basic infrastructure upon which we rely for these fundamental needs.
On the issue of climate: Well, the Build Back Better Agenda will help us tackle the climate crisis with investments in clean energy and electric vehicles, and so we can reduce emissions. And why do we need to reduce emissions? Because that is part of what is contributing to these drought conditions.
So this is the work that we are talking about with these two bills that are before Congress. And it is critical that we, as a nation, understand that we have within our hands, within our possession, the ability to actually change the course of where we’re headed.
Just look out at this lake. Look at where the water has receded over just the last 20 years. That space is larger than the height of the Statue of Liberty, in just the last 20 years. This is where we’re headed.
So let’s take on a sense of responsibility with a sense of urgency and do something about this in a way that is about satisfying basic needs, which in this case, right here, is 25 million people who are served by what happens at Lake Mead, not to mention what we can do that is about future generations.
So let’s get these bills passed. Let’s understand that, right now, we have a moment where we have the ability to actually benefit future generations and be transformational in a way that will not only be about life but about this beautiful planet and beautiful places like Lake Mead.
Thank you all. (Applause.)