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House passes bill addressing US water infrastructure

By |  July 30, 2020
Tail-waters below Gavins Point dam on the Missouri River in South Dakota. Photo: PatrickZiegler/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

WRDA 2020 supports U.S. dams, ports and other critical water infrastructure. Photo: PatrickZiegler/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, paving the way for the Senate to take up the bill and provide authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out water resources development projects and studies.

Congress previously enacted WRDAs in 2014, 2016, and 2018.

WRDA 2020 reforms and provides policy direction to the Army Corps of Engineers for implementation of its civil works missions. The legislation supports the nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration and other water resources infrastructure.

Industry reaction

“Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA) reauthorization is a critical bill to ensure the Army Corps of Engineers can address vital infrastructure projects that enhance our national waterways, improve ports with additional dredging, protect our shorelines, and strengthen those areas prone to flooding and natural disasters,” says Michele Stanley, vice president of government and regulatory affairs at the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA). “NSSGA members across the country are directly involved with these water infrastructure projects, and we fully support WRDA in its passage.”

Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), chair of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, was among those who steered the House’s passage of the bill.

“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,” DeFazio says. “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.”

According to NSSGA, the current WRDA expires Sept. 30 along with the highway surface authorization bill.

“We now look to the Senate to continue the momentum and pass its counterpart to turn this version into law,” Stanley says of WRDA 2020.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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