WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) released the following statement after S.3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, passed the House by voice vote.
“The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 is a strong, bipartisan bill that overwhelmingly passed the House. This bill has important reforms to the Army Corps of Engineers, which will allow us to expedite critical flood control and navigation projects that have been bogged down by unnecessary Washington red tape. For Louisiana to thrive, we need strong flood control, robust waterways and ports, and a resilient coastline. This legislation helps address these needs and I look forward to the President signing it into law soon.”
Provisions included in this legislation:
- Codifies Scalise language to help expedite the vital Corps of Engineers feasibility study for St. Tammany Parish. This authorized study, which is awaiting Corps funding and initiation, would examine the feasibility of projects included in the St. Tammany Parish Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan for flood reduction, shoreline protection, and ecosystem restoration.
- Codifies Scalise language to help expedite the review of studies vital to Louisiana’s economy, including projects to deepen the Houma Navigational Canal, Baptiste Collette Bayou, and Bayou Lafourche waterways.
- Authorizes an additional study to evaluate flood risk reduction and strategic placement of floodplain storage in St. Tammany Parish.
- Limits the Corps ability to require permanent land acquisitions for water resource related projects and actions when temporary easements of property are available, reducing timely and expensive delays for vital flood protection and coastal restoration projects in Louisiana.
- Requires the Secretary to expeditiously carry out flood risk management and hurricane projects in disaster areas, including Louisiana.
- Streamlines regulatory reviews to prevent the Corps of Engineers from studying local flood control and navigation projects to death.
- Empowers state and local governments to begin investing their own funds to accelerate permitting and construction activities.
- Authorizes a study to evaluate the efficiency and productivity of the Corps of Engineers’ current organizational structure within the Department of Defense.
- Requires the Corps to provide Congress a report on the comprehensive construction backlog and delayed maintenance of aging projects nationwide, including critical projects in Louisiana.