CRAMER: Water Infrastructure Bill Addresses Concerns of State Cabin Owners
Here to View Congressman Cramer’s Floor Debate
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer debated in support of language in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act preventing significant cabin fee increases at three state reservoirs and maintaining the use of trailer homes at Lake Tschida in southwestern North Dakota. The bill passed the House of Representatives today.
“This issue of allowing continued use of trailer homes around Lake Tschida has been going on for years,” said Cramer. “The requirements in this provision in the bill will increase safety while supporting existing investments and continued recreation at the Lake.”
The bill also addresses looming fee increases for cabins and trailers at the three North Dakota Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs, Heart Butte, Jamestown, and Dickinson. “Because market rent surveys weren’t conducted for a number of years, surveys completed last year indicated fees should be increased anywhere from 91 to 232 percent at these locations. My constituents couldn’t bear such significant increases,” said Cramer.
Language in the bill limits these specific increases to no more than 33 percent over the next five years. He said the Bureau has committed to conducting another market rent survey in five years to help keep fees relevant to the marketplace and increases at a reasonable pace so owners can afford to continue to enjoy these recreation areas.
The WIIN bill, S. 612, addresses America’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection, and other water infrastructure critical to the nation. Formerly called the Water Resources Development Act, Cramer said the bill is important for America’s economic competitiveness. “Many of North Dakota’s agricultural and other products use inland waterways and coastal ports for shipment,” said Cramer. “Maintaining and improving that transportation infrastructure is as crucial as good highways and railroads to North Dakota producers moving their products to domestic and international markets.”
The bill includes sections similar to the Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulations Act, H.R. 1734, Cramer cosponsored and the House passed on July 22, 2015. The legislation empowers states to establish their own coal ash disposal program as long as it meets the standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “The regulation of coal ash disposal has been debated for decades and fortunately for those of us in North Dakota over that time period we’ve had modern standards and facilities,” said Cramer. “While this legislative approach isn’t perfect, it’s better than the EPA’s proposal which leaves too many opportunities for extreme environmental groups to replace regulations based on sound science with their agenda of shutting down the coal industry.”
The bill also includes provisions to empower small and economically disadvantaged communities to improve drinking water services through changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act and additional authorized funding. Research on innovative water technologies is authorized and a clearinghouse of public information on cost-effectiveness of alternative drinking water delivery systems will be created.
Other highlights of the bill include:
• Reduces the inventory of water resources projects no longer needed and maintains a return to the two-year cycle of considering Water Resources Development Acts.
• Assigns a coordinator and principal approving officer for all Army Corps unmanned aircraft systems.
• Requires information sharing and reporting on the Army Corps tribal consultation process.