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NFC: Fw: Army Corps Reform Update for November 3, 2000

Army Corps Reform Update for November 3, 2000

Today, the House passed the Senate-House Conference Report of the 
Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2000, the omnibus 
legislation that authorizes Corps of Engineers water projects. The 
Senate approved the Report earlier in the week. 

The bill, awaiting the President's signature, authorizes numerous 
environmental restoration programs including a $7.8 billion program 
to restore the Florida Everglades Ecosystem (the main push for 
passing WRDA in the last days before the highly contended election), 
but fell short of expectations of Corps Reform advocates in its 
failure to include significant reform measures. 

The reforms included in WRDA include a study looking into independent 
review of large or controversial projects, a pilot program for 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.      
More information on necessary reforms, visit 

Thanks to everyone who called/emailed 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.  Several other 
controversial provisions were removed in the House-Senate conference, 
as well

Additionally, despite the efforts to the counter of Rep. Bud Shuster 
(PA-9th-R), the chairman of the House Transportation and 
Infrastructure Committee, 52 potential environmental infrastructure 
projects that were in an earlier House version of WRDA were NOT 
included in the House-Senate Conference Report that Congress approved 
and is now awaiting Presidential approval.  

Together, these projects would authorize $386.7 million in new 
spending, and represent the largest expansion of environmental 
infrastructure for the Army Corps of Engineers since several pilot 
projects were authorized in 1992.  A report on the effectiveness of 
the pilot program was due by the end of 1998, but it has not been 
completed.  Thus, no consideration of the environmental 
infrastructure projects' fiscal impact or their tendency to subsidize 
sprawl in the undeveloped suburban areas has been investigated.

HOWEVER, Members may seek to add these environmental infrastructure 
projects to appropriations legislation in the waning days of the 
106th Congress. The Honorable Bill Young

TAKE ACTION!  Contact Chairman Bill Young of the House Appropriations 
Committee at 202-225-5961 and urge him to keep the final 
appropriations bills clean of these unnecessary environmental 
infrastructure projects as well as all other anti-environmental, anti-
taxpayer extraneous riders.

All summer the Army Corps of Engineers hosted 'listening sessions' 
across the country to open dialogue with stakeholders and concerned 
citizens and to assess the needs and priorities for the nation's 
water resources. 

Help voice concerns of the environmental community! Attend the last 
listening session on Thursday, November 9th, 2000 at Crystal Gateway 
Marriot, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia 22202.  
Learn more about the Corps' listening sessions at 
http://www.wrsc.usace.army.mil/iwr/waterchallenges/ or find out more 
about American Rivers' Corps Reform campaign at 

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.  

The current Water Resources Development Act expands one of the Corps' 
primary missions, environmental restoration, by authorizing a score 
of restoration projects throughout the country including:

Lower Columbia Estuary ($40 million); Ohio River restoration ($307 
million); Upper Mississippi sediment and nutrient reduction study; 
Everglades Restoration =96 1st phase ($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 ($24 million).

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 
Pennsylvania (1). 

To learn more about the Corps' environmental mission, visit