Shortsighted Senate Water Bill Will Damage Rivers and Wildlife, Fleece Taxpayers

Today, the Senate voted 83-14 to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2013, S.601.

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said in response:

This shortsighted bill will leave Americans at greater risk of flooding, damage our rivers and wildlife, and fleece taxpayers. Apparently, all it takes is a classic Washington pig roast to break the gridlock in the Senate.

It would cost an estimated $60 billion to build all the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects currently on the books. Today, the Senate has added to the backlog while undermining the process that identifies which projects provide real value. Time and time again, commonsense environmental reviews have shed light on expensive, damaging proposals that are not in our national interest.The Water Resources Development Act is vital for helping to restore national treasures like the Everglades and the Mississippi River Delta. Unfortunately, language in this bill undermines the bedrock environmental principle that the federal government should look before it leaps. For example, this bill will allow the Army Corps to fine other federal agencies up to $20,000 a week if they aren’t able to meet the new rushed deadlines for environmental review.

Now the debate moves to the House. We look forward to working with our representatives to protect the integrity of the environmental review process, and to enact meaningful reforms that will prioritize low impact solutions and modernize the management of existing projects. This bill must be fixed before the President signs it into law.

Read more about the Water Resources Development Act: