U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020
Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) applauded House passage of the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA).
WRDA 2020 provides authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to carry out water resources development projects and studies; it also reforms and provides policy direction to the Corps for implementation of its civil works missions. This legislation is critical to the Nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water resources infrastructure. More information, including bill text, can be found here.
“It’s a great day for communities across the country when Congress works together to pass legislation with direct and immediate impacts to improve local ports, harbors, and waterways. Additionally, it’s always a good thing when Congress can prove it is still possible to come together and create meaningful legislation on a bipartisan basis,” said Chair DeFazio. “WRDA 2020 authorizes critical Corps projects, which will strengthen our coastal communities, help keep us competitive in the global economy, restore our coastal environment, and create and sustain thousands of good paying American jobs. This bill also transforms the Corps’ planning process to ensure that future water resources development projects are more resilient, fully evaluate ecological and societal benefits, and are accessible to all communities, including rural and economically disadvantaged communities whose needs are often overlooked. I am particularly proud this legislation completes my decades-long mission to reform the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by allowing billions in already collected HMT funds to be used for their intended purpose—ensuring maintenance needs of ports and harbors across the country are met. Thanks to Chair Napolitano and Ranking Members Graves and Westerman for their work to move this important legislation forward. I urge the Senate act quickly so we can send legislation to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”
“This bill is vital for advancing flood risk reduction projects, helping rural communities to better address their flood control needs, and empowering communities in building more resilient infrastructure after disasters,” said Ranking Member Graves. “In addition, WRDA provides navigation improvements for America’s ports and inland waterways system that will help grow the economy and create jobs. I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill, and I strongly support the infrastructure improvements it will bring to North Missouri and the rest of the country.”
WRDA 2020 includes numerous provisions that benefit southwestern Oregon including:
- Doubling dedicated funding to small harbors, like the Port of Gold Beach and Port of Siuslaw, and allowing those funds to be used for additional purposes including the dredging of marinas;
- Directing the Army Corps of Engineers to provide further information on design solutions for the Port of Port Orford Breakwater, which has contributed to shoaling at the port;
- Authorizing a study of siltation at the Port of Bandon to improve navigation and safety;
- Authorizing a new program for ecosystem restoration to benefit salmon and steelhead and giving these projects equal priority to other ecosystem restoration projects;
- Studying the removal of power generation at Detroit and Cougar Dams to reduce costs to public power agencies and potentially open miles of pristine salmon habitat upstream of the dams;
- Allocating water stored in the Willamette Basin dams to meet the needs of agriculture, municipal, and conservation uses for the next 50 years; and
- Transferring ownership of the Leaburg Fish Hatchery on the McKenzie River to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.