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NFC: Fw: Corps Reform Update for October 20, 2000
Corps Reform Update for October 20, 2000
WRDA CRAMMED THROUGH HOUSE, INCLUDES MODEST CORPS REFORM MEASURES
Yesterday, the House overwhelmingly passed its version of the Water
Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2000, the omnibus legislation
that authorized Corps of Engineers water projects. The Senate's
version was passed on September 25th. Both versions of the bill
contain $1.4 billion to restore the Florida Everglades Ecosystem (the
main push for passing WRDA in the 106th Congress), but fell short of
expectations of Corps Reform advocates in its failure to include
significant reform measures.
House leadership shepherded the mammoth legislation to the House
floor without going through the normal review process. The bill was
never made available to the public nor debated in Committee or on the
House floor. The closed ruling prevented Representatives from
offering several reform amendments.
The current WRDA version, now on its way to House-Senate conference,
contains a pilot program for independent review and post-project
monitoring, increased stakeholder involvement if found "appropriate,"
and an investigation into the effectiveness of full concurrent
mitigation of adverse environmental impacts.
To view a copy of the final legislation, visit http://thomas.loc.gov
and search for S. 2796.
For more information on necessary
reforms, visit American Rivers' Corps Reform page at
NO REFORM AMENDMENTS ALLOWED TO BE OFFERED TO HOUSE WRDA
House leadership prevented meaningful debate of WRDA and decided on a
closed ruling to prevent several Corps reform amendments from being
offered. Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and
Mark Sanford (R-SC) were prepared to offer several amendments calling
for independent review of large or controversial Corps projects,
increased stakeholder involvement in project planning, full and
concurrent mitigation of project impacts to the environment, and
increased benefit-cost ratio used to justify projects.
Last month, Senate leadership thwarted efforts by Senator Russ
Feingold (D-WI) to offer similar amendments. The legislation does
include language to authorize a study of the feasibility of
incorporating independent review, but failed to make real strides
towards reform for the rogue agency. Senate Environment and Public
Works Committee Chairman Bob Smith (R-NH) also agreed to hold hearing
on a comprehensive Corps Reform Bill to be introduced by Senator
Feingold next year.
More information about specific reforms for the Corps, visit
TAKE ACTION! ENCOURAGE CONGRESS TO REMOVE ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL
SECTIONS IN WRDA!
Call/email Representatives Shuster (R-PA) and Oberstar (D-MI) and
Senators Bob Smith (R-NH) and Baucus (D-MT) to oppose Sec.225 and
Sec. 220, which would allow the corps to rehabilitate dams without
environmental consideration, and create a preference for mitigation
banks over site-specific mitigation for Army Corps civil works
projects, respectfully. Ask that these ard other controversial
provisions be removed in the House-Senate conference.
Take action! Visit www.americanrivers.org/takeaction and click
on "Help Stop the Army Corps From Rehabilitating Dams Without
Environmental Consideration!" to email House and Senate leadership.
Bud Shuster (R-9th PA) 202-225-2431
Sherwood Boehlert (R-23rd NY) 202-225-3665
James Oberstar (D-8th MN) 202-225-6211
Robert Borski (D-3rd PA) 202-225-8251
CONGRESS IN ITS FINAL WEEKS =96 STILL SEEKING CO-SPONSORS TO SHOW
SUPPORT FOR REFORM. TAKE ACTION NOW!
Representative Ron Kind (D-WI), along with Representatives Earl
Blumenauer (D-OR) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), introduced H.R. 4879, the
Corps of Engineers Reform Act of 2000. This important piece of
legislation would require independent review of large Corps projects,
concurrent mitigation, and evaluation of economic and environmental
results of constructed projects and would increase public involvement
in project planning.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! Encourage your Representative to cosponsor the
Army Corps of Engineers Reform Act of 2000 and to support Corps
reform measures in WRDA 2000. Call the Congressional switchboard for
your members phone number at 202-224-3121. For more information,
visit our Corps Reform page at
To view the legislation, visit
http://thomas.loc.gov and search for H.R. 4879.
CONTROVERSIAL MISSISSIPPI AND ILLINOIS LOCK-EPANSION STUDY DELAYED
The Corps is going back to the drawing board as it reviews a
controversial $1 billion lock-expansion project because of lower
forecasts for barge traffic on the upper Mississippi and Illinois
rivers. The corps' decision to incorporate new traffic figures into
its analysis will delay the corps' 7-year, $54 million study by at
least another year.
CORPS' EXPANDING ENVIRONMENTAL MISSION
The current Water Resources Development Act, which authorizes $6
billion in new projects, expands the Corps' environmental mission by
authorizing a score of restoration projects throughout the country
Lower Columbia Estuary ($40 million); Ohio River restoration ($307
million); Upper Mississippi sediment and nutrient reduction study;
Missouri River Restoration ($260); Everglades Restoration =96 1st
($1.4 billion); Clear Creek non-structural flood control; Illinois
Basin restoration ($100 million); Florida Keys water quality ($100
million); Jackson Hole, WY ($52 million); Upper Newport Bay, CA ($32
million); Tres Rios, AZ ($99 million); Wolf River, TN ($11 million);
Duwamish/Green, WA ($116 million); and Stillagumaish River Basin, WA
WRDA also authorizes 20 new restoration programs to be implemented
under the Corps' continuing authorities (section 1135 and 206).
Projects are in Colorado (2), Florida (3), Illinois (1), Michigan
(1), Nebraska (2), New York (6), Ohio (1), Oregon (3) and
To learn more about the Corps' environmental mission, visit American
Rivers' Corps Reform page at