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Rep.Gerlach Votes for Important Water Resources Legislation

Washington, Jul 14, 2005 - The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved bipartisan legislation authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out various studies, projects, and programs relating to navigation, flood damage reduction, shoreline protection, dam safety, water supply, recreation, and environmental restoration and protection. H.R. 2864, the Water Resources Development Act of 2005 (WRDA), passed the House Thursday by a vote of 406 to 14.

“This legislation continues our commitment to investing the nation’s waterways, protecting our water resources and improving the streams and rivers so many individuals rely on to meet their transportation needs, their business needs, and their recreational needs,” Rep. Gerlach said.

Highlights Of H.R. 2864

H. R. 2864 reaffirms Congress’ continuing commitment to the nation’s water resources infrastructure, and a regular authorization schedule for the Civil Works Program of the Army Corps of Engineers to address new and emerging water resources needs, and to fine-tune the Corps’ missions and responsibilities. The legislation includes authorizations for 37 projects with new favorable reports from the Chief of Engineers relating to flood damage reduction, navigation, hurricane and storm damage reduction, and environmental restoration.

H.R. 2864 begins to move the nation in the direction of a modern transportation system for the 21st Century by authorizing or modifying 106 projects and studies relating to navigation improvements. H.R. 2864 continues investments in flood protection by

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authorizing and modifying 234 projects and studies related to flood damage reduction, streambank and shoreline protection, and hurricane damage reduction.

H.R. 2864 continues the Corps’ rapidly growing mission of environmental restoration by authorizing or modifying 164 projects and studies. H. R. 2864 authorizes a number of additional projects, project modifications, and investigations related to the civil works program of the Corps of Engineers. H. R. 2864 includes provisions for streamlining and expediting Corps of Engineers project delivery and permits. H. R. 2864 include provisions for the improvement of the Corps of Engineers’ planning and project development process, including independent peer review of larger and more controversial studies.

The House also approved a manager’s amendment making technical and clarifying changes, and authorizing or modifying projects and studies that were brought to the Committee’s attention following Committee action. The Corps civil works program is the nation’s largest water resources program. Today the Corps maintains more than 11,000 miles of channels for commercial navigation and operates locks at 230 sites. Half of the locks are over 50 years old. The Corps also maintains 300 deep commercial harbors and 600 shallow coastal and inland harbors. There are 75 hydropower plants at Corps facilities producing one fourth of the Nation’s hydroelectric power. To address flood risks, the Corps manages 383 major lakes and reservoirs, and 8500 miles of levees. The Corps estimates that, on the average, its civil works projects prevent $20 billion in flood damages every year.

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