11 months ago by
The bill authorizes the key missions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including flood prevention and navigation projects
U.S. Representatives Sam Graves (MO-06) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) today applaud House passage of the bicameral, bipartisan agreement to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). Signifying major legislation to update our nation’s water infrastructure, the bill authorizes the key missions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including flood prevention and navigation projects.
After the House originally passed WRRDA on October 23, 2013, a conference committee consisting of Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate was convened to reconcile differences between the two versions of the water resources legislation.
Congressman Graves was named to the bicameral conference committee by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) after being recommended by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA). Last week, House and Senate conferees reached agreement on a final measure, which must be approved by both Houses of Congress in order to send the bill to the President to be signed into law. The Senate is expected to vote later this week.
“Having efficient water infrastructure is critical to a healthy economy. Passing WRRDA means jobs, trade, competitiveness, and economic development for Missouri and America. Missouri is an agriculture state, and our goods are moved all over the world right through the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers,” said Congressman Graves. “One of the key concerns I heard at our field hearing last year in St. Joseph was with the way the Corps currently acquires land, often without an expressed purpose for doing so. This is a longstanding problem on which Congressman Luetkemeyer and I have worked to solve for several years, and which is addressed in this bill,” he added.
Specifically, Graves and Luetkemeyer successfully included language in the House bill ensuring the Army Corps of Engineers has a clear, results-based strategy for mitigation on the Missouri River. As a member of the conference committee, Congressman Graves worked to ensure this language was included in the final House-Senate agreement. The final agreement also prevents the Corps from charging a fee on surplus water storage for 10-years on Missouri River reservoir projects.
“The approval of this agreement ensures that we will have a transparent, result-based strategy for mitigation on the Missouri River while ensuring that our river communities including residents, business and municipalities are able to utilize Missouri River waters without being charged by the federal government,” said Congressman Luetkemeyer. “I am extremely pleased that Congressman Graves and I have been able to work on behalf of so many Missourians who rely on the river and we now have in place a real opportunity to make these substantive changes to management of the Missouri River that will strengthen our country’s infrastructure for years to come,” he added.
Waterways and ports help support nearly 25,000 jobs in Missouri and contribute $4 billion to the state’s economy.
One of the most policy and reform focused measures of its kind in the last two decades, WRRDA streamlines the project delivery process, promotes fiscal responsibility, and strengthens our water transportation networks to promote competitiveness, prosperity, and economic growth. WRRDA contains no earmarks and makes major reforms to increase transparency, accountability, and congressional oversight in reviewing and prioritizing future water resources development activities.