Will Senate Water Down Environmental Protections While the Midwest Floods?
After the Midwest experienced drought during the past several months and now the April showers are bringing May floods. Last week the Mississippi River crested five and a half feet above the flood stage in St. Louis, MO and will reach its peak further south in the state. The best defense for reducing the severity of floods is to prevent development in the floodplain.The Army Corps of Engineers has the ability to protect cities from floods through vital water projects that are authorized by the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (WRDA). The act authorizes water projects nation-wide and is designed to safeguard our water resources – from harbors to levees, wetlands to rivers. The bill has some ecosystem restoration priorities for the Everglades and Coastal Louisiana, and includes some positive environmental provisions such as levee stabilization. These portions are crucial to protect habitat and wildlife throughout the nation, and could provide relief for the flood-stricken regions throughout the Mississippi River watershed.
However well-intentioned this bill is, there are extremely dangerous sections that threaten the safety and well being of the environment and the public – two provisions in particular will steamroll an integral environmental review process that has been in place for over 40 years.
In order to initiate projects that will protect the public and our natural resources, the Army Corps of Engineers needs this bill to be signed into law. But all the good projects that could be constructed could very well be negated by these harmful provisions. Streamlining the environmental review process does not reduce costs, does not protect the environment, and does not serve the greater good for the public. In fact, creating bureaucratic hurdles and fines will allow bad projects to slip through under the cover of darkness, and could jeopardize the very water resources we rely on for drinking water and commerce.
Stand Up For Your Water Resources!
In the first week of May the Senate is expected to vote on S. 601. If the destructive environmental provisions are not removed, the environment, wildlife, and people will face grave consequences. Please remove provisions in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that would significantly undermine the environmental review process – section 2032 on Study Acceleration and section 2033 on Project Acceleration.