WATER POLICY – House passes infrastructure package

The House this afternoon easily approved water infrastructure legislation by voice vote.
The “America’s Water Infrastructure Act,” S. 3021, would authorize numerous port revitalization, flood control and water storage projects.
It would also ask the National Academy of Sciences to study moving the Army Corps of Engineers out of the Defense Department, and would extend an EPA program to help state and local governments boost drinking water quality.
The bill resulted from a compromise struck between House and Senate negotiators Monday (Greenwire, Sept. 11). The Senate is expected to take up the bill as soon as next week.
“This is a bipartisan, bicameral, comprehensive bill that delivers on a promise to regularly deliver on water infra projects across the nation,” said House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.).
Committee ranking member Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) agreed that the legislation is “a good bill” but decried House leadership for once again blocking language to allow revenues in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to be used for port infrastructure projects.
He noted that GOP leaders prevented similar language from being added to June’s water infrastructure bill, as well as one that passed two years ago, and slammed Republicans for using harbor maintenance funds to offset the deficit.
“It’s a bunch of b.s. that we are doing that,” he said. “You should not be collecting taxes from the American people and not spending it on the intended and needed purpose.”
At a hearing on nuclear energy this morning, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said the bill is “especially important as Hurricane Florence threatens the East Coast.”
“Provisions in this bill will boost flood control and increase water storage,” he said. “Both are critical in the preparation for, and response to, major storms.”
Barrasso also said the bill “answers President Trump’s call to address our nation’s aging infrastructure.”


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