Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) today voted in favor of H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA). The bill authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct water resources development activities, such as navigation, flood damage reduction, shoreline protection, and disaster response and recovery for the country, and fundamental reforms to the Corps of Engineers’ planning process.
“America’s waterways and ports play an important role in our national economy, and our region is blessed to have these ports and harbors,” said Latta. “The operation and maintenance of this infrastructure is critical for the creation of jobs and commerce.”
Specifically important to northern Ohio, is that H.R. 3080 increases flexibility for non-federal interests in regards to Army Corps of Engineers’ projects. In particular, there is an ability for non-federal interests to contribute their own funds to move authorized studies and projects forward. The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Army to accept funds from non-federal entities to operate, maintain, and improve the nation’s inland waterways transportation system. It also establishes a new, transparent process to review and prioritize water resources development activity with strong Congressional oversight.
“This bill provides commonsense reforms to the Army Corps of Engineers that will empower non-federal project stakeholders, such as the Blanchard River Flood Reduction Project, to move projects along that are important to the local community and a region’s economic future,” Latta said.
Also included within WRRDA are three legislative provisions that Congressman Latta cosponsored. One provision assists the Great Lakes region through increased funding to dredge and maintain ports and harbors to allow an effective flow that expands goods and commerce in the region. The second contains language to designate all ports and harbors on the Great Lakes as a single, comprehensive navigation system for budgeting purposes, essentially allowing the Great Lakes’ ports and harbors to create a unified front when it comes to federal funding. And lastly, the third provision establishes a multiagency effort to slow the spread of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins to prevent them from entering the Great Lakes and destroying its ecosystem.