Water Resources Bill Weakens Environmental Review and Public CommentOctober 24th, 2013
Eileen Fretz, American Rivers, 202-347-7550
Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. American Rivers President Bob Irvin stated:
“The Water Resources Reform and Development Act traditionally authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct flood management, ecosystem restoration and navigation projects on our nation’s rivers and coasts. Unfortunately, in an effort to “reform” and speed up the construction of water infrastructure projects, the House bill undermines the public’s ability to voice concern with these water projects.”
Dams, levees, and other water infrastructure projects can have a huge impact on the health of rivers, fish and wildlife habitat, and public safety. The current environmental review process gives the public an opportunity to voice their concerns about projects that affect them and ensures that infrastructure projects comply with bedrock environmental laws like the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.
Unfortunately the House bill erroneously blames the environmental review process for project delays, rather than the Corps’ $60 billion backlog of projects. Ironically, rollbacks to this process may result in projects being denied rather than faster construction. The House and Senate should ensure that a final water resources bill ensures an environmental review process that protects the environment, the public, and federal taxpayers.”