NORMAN — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, voted Wednesday in favor of S. 601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013, which passed the Senate by a vote of 83-14.
The bill authorizes new water infrastructure projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and will significantly reduce the backlog of water projects across the country.
“It is Congress’s constitutional duty to build and maintain our country’s critical national infrastructure, and the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 is essential to meeting this obligation,” Inhofe said. “This bill includes monumental reforms to the environmental review and permitting process that must be followed by the Corps, eliminating unnecessary red tape while significantly reducing the bureaucratic backlog of unfinished projects.”
The Water Resources Development Act authorizes the construction of major navigation and flood risk management projects in a deficit neutral manner with no new direct spending.
The bill provides the Corps of Engineers the flexibility to work with non-federal sponsors such as state and local communities on planning assistance, feasibility studies and project construction.
Included are provisions that require the Army Corps of Engineers to meet deadlines and more expediently resolve all environmental reviews, including the Endangered Species Act.
Expansion of the Port of Catoosa: Inhofe Amendment 797 would allow the Tulsa Port of Catoosa to exchange land currently owned by the Army Corps of Engineers with land owned by the Port Authority. The land exchange will allow port operations to expand and attract industrial growth to the region.
Examination of unfair federal water pricing practices: Communities across the country are exploring long-term water supply solutions for their citizens.
Unfortunately, water storage supplied by the Army Corps of Engineers can be cost-prohibitive due to archaic water storage formulas that produce highly disparate water storage prices.