WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) released the following statement after the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee advanced the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 to the House floor.
“I applaud Chairman Shuster and Water Resources Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves for passing the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) out of committee. This legislation dramatically increases transparency in the Corps of Engineers permitting process by enhancing local input and cutting the bureaucratic red tape plaguing flood control, coastal restoration, and navigation projects in Louisiana. I am pleased Chairman Shuster has included these important Louisiana priorities in his bill, and I will work to lead the effort to achieve the votes necessary to pass it on the House Floor,” said Whip Scalise. “As Louisiana is responsible for more than 500 million tons of waterborne commerce on the lower Mississippi River, equaling 25 percent of all U.S. waterborne commerce and 60 percent of our nation’s grain supply, an investment in our coast and ports is an investment in the American economy. “
The 2018 House WRDA bill includes a number of provisions that benefit flood protection and waterway navigation in Louisiana’s First District, including:
- Authorizes a study to evaluate flood risk reduction in St. Tammany Parish.
- Requires the Corps to develop a more transparent and efficient process in mitigation banking and wetland restoration.
- Places restrictions on how the Corps of Engineers performs regulatory reviews for projects related to navigation and flood control.
- Expedites the permitting and construction of water resource projects by allowing the Corps of Engineers to accept advanced funds from non-federal sponsors.
- Authorizes a study to evaluate the efficiency and productivity of the Corps of Engineers’ current organizational structure within the Department of Defense.
- Requires the Corps to provide Congress a report on the comprehensive backlog and deferred maintenance of aging projects nationwide, including critical projects in Louisiana.
- Ensures funds dedicated to maintaining our ports and waterways in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund are used for their intended purposes by unlocking the trust fund for full use in 2029.