“This week the House of Representatives passed a much needed reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), a bill that will assist local governments in improving their infrastructure. The legislation provides the Army Corps of Engineers with the authority to study water resource issues, construct projects, and modify existing water development projects.

“WRDA will authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to initiate over 25 water-related infrastructure projects throughout the country. Here in the Pacific Northwest, this authorization language will impact a number of ecosystem restoration projects. Additionally, the bill requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study regarding any remaining federal obligation to Native American communities displaced by dams on the Columbia River in both Oregon and Washington. As the House version of WRDA was crafted, I was a strong supporter of ecosystem restoration funding for the Puget Sound. In June of this year, I joined members of the Washington state delegation in sending a letter to the USACE in support of the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration General Investigation (GI) study and asked for the swift completion of the Chief’s Report so that it could be included in WRDA. The GI study contained an implementation strategy developed jointly with the USACE and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify and develop projects to advance restoration of critical nearshore habitat in our region. I was happy to see that following the completion of the Chief’s Report, language authorizing funding for nearshore restoration projects in the Puget Sound made it into the House passed version of the bill.

“I am also extremely pleased to see that the House passed WRDA includes Congressman Dan Kildee’s amendment to authorize $170 million to replace infrastructure in communities like Flint that have declared a state of emergency as a result of the presence of lead and other contaminants in their water. As a co-sponsor of Rep. Kildee’s bill the Families in Flint Act, I have been a strong advocate of providing aid to Flint through federal funding to help families recover from this man-made disaster. I appreciate Rep. Kildee’s leadership in this time of crisis for the over 100,000 Americans impacted by the continued lack of access to safe drinking water, and will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure the Federal government provides resources to families in need during this ongoing public health crisis.    

“As WRDA moves to a conference committee between the House of Representatives and the Senate, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure Congress is able to pass a bipartisan solution to address the needs of our country’s rivers, harbors, dams, flood protection, aid for disadvantaged communities, and other water resources infrastructure that will provide national economic and environmental benefits.”