Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo today praised passage of the bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The bill was passed yesterday afternoon, May 22, on the Senate floor with a vote of 91 to 7.
“Small communities across Idaho will benefit from this commonsense legislation,” said Risch. “I am happy to see such resounding bipartisan support for the bill and look forward to all the good that it will do for the state of Idaho”.
“This legislation provides critical funding to our nation’s water infrastructure managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Crapo. “The Corps operates multiple projects in Idaho and throughout the Columbia River Basin that, through the furthest inland seaport in Lewiston, provide farms and other businesses with a vital link to the Port of Portland and the Pacific Ocean.”
This bill authorizes and mandates that the United States Army Corps of Engineers initiate projects certified by Congress and removes over $60 billion of unauthorized projects.
A number of the authorized projects benefit Idaho. In summary, they are:
- Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention and Management; Columbia River Basin – Authorizes the Secretary to carry out watercraft inspections to prevent and manage aquatic invasive species
- Northern Rockies Headwaters Extreme Weather Mitigation – Authorizes the Secretary to establish a program to mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, on communities, water users, and fish and wildlife located in and along the headwaters of the Columbia River Basin
- Rural Western River – Reauthorizes a regional program in Idaho to provide water infrastructure assistance
- Dam Safety Title – Reauthorizes the National Dam Safety Program which increases public safety by safeguarding damns nationwide
- Special Use Permits – Authorizes the Secretary to issue special permits for activities at Corps recreation facilities and to recoup fees for administering the permits and carrying out of related operation and maintenance activities
The House of Representatives passed WRRDA on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, by a vote of 412-4. The bill now heads to the President’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law.