CRAMER: WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT ACT PASSES THE HOUSE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA) today, which continues investment in America’s water infrastructure carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).
The U.S. has an unmatched natural waterway network which supports economic competitiveness with investment in ports, locks, dams, and other infrastructure supporting the transportation system and flood protection.
“North Dakota’s agricultural producers have long taken advantage of our nation’s maritime network to feed the world. Now, with the repeal of the oil export ban in 2015, North Dakota’s oil producers have been fueling the energy needs of our allies,” said Cramer. “In 2017, crude oil exports averaged 1.1 million barrels per day, essentially the level of production in North Dakota. However, we need to continue making critical investments to ensure our ports can handle larger ships, locks remain reliable, and dams capable to benefit all sectors of our economy.
“The water resources bills we enacted in 2014 and 2016 gave the Corps and non-federal project proponents many new opportunities to get projects off the ground to strengthen our water transportation network and protect communities from flooding events. However, I and other Members of Congress continue to hear concerns and specifically about benefit-cost analyses holding projects back. We’ve directed the Administration to make these analyses more transparent to improve cost savings and project completion,” said Cramer. “Further, in the bill we’ve directed a study on the future of Army Corps of Engineers to see if there’s a better way to carry out its functions.”
After hearing continual concerns from constituents about the Corps, including recreational access issues, stifling permit approval processes, state water rights issues, and the role of the Corps related to other agencies, such as the Bureau of Reclamation, Cramer called on the National Academy of Sciences to study the future of the agency. Transferring the agency from the Department of Defense to the Departments of the Interior or Transportation has been raised for consideration.