WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) released the following statement after the Senate’s bipartisan passage of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018:
“Earlier this summer, the House passed the America’s Water Infrastructure Act to institute critical reforms to the Corps of Engineers and expedite the completion of flood protection and navigation projects across South Louisiana, including St. Tammany flood control and vital waterway deepening proposals for the Houma Navigational Canal, Baptiste Collette Bayou, and Bayou Lafourche. Today, I am pleased that the Senate, with the help of Senators Cassidy and Kennedy, voted to send this legislation to the president’s desk with these important reforms included. Once signed into law by President Trump, this legislation will reduce the bureaucratic red tape that hinders local projects, and will strengthen our water resources management and infrastructure.”
The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 includes a number of provisions that reform the Corps of Engineers, strengthen flood protection, and improve waterway navigation in Louisiana’s First District, including:
- Codifies Scalise language to help expedite a 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 projects and actions when temporary property easements 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 keeping vital flood control and navigation projects in limbo for years.