Cramer Announces Approval of Water Bill in House Committee
Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved the Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA), a bill which supports water infrastructure needs, reduces the backlog of Army Corps of Engineers projects, authorizes the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion, and ensures better communication of flood risk to the public.
“Flood protection and getting our agricultural and energy products to market are vital to North Dakota’s well-being. I worked closely with Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Members to ensure our interests are met,” said Cramer. “I am pleased the House is moving this legislation toward a vote.”
To deal with a backlog of existing Army Corps of Engineers water infrastructure projects, the bill deauthorizes $12 billion in projects dated before 2007, completely offsetting the cost of new projects ($10 billion). While it does not appropriate funds, WRRDA authorizes a final feasibility study for the F-M Diversion.
Other projects are intended to provide investment in ports and waterways to strengthen the nation’s access to global markets.
“One of the key reforms is the Public Private Partnership Program, maximizing the ability of non-federal project sponsors to move forward,” Cramer added.
The bill also sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies, and terminates projects which have not begun construction after seven years.
Written into WRRDA is language similar to a bill Cramer cosponsored with Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD), the Army Corps of Engineers Communications Accountability Act of 2013. It addresses the serious lack of communication between the Corps and the general public suffered during the 2011 Missouri River flood by requiring public notice of any runoff expected to be damaging to life or property.