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USA - WRDA Nears Finish Line

The latest version of the Water Resources Development Act is heading toward probable passage in the Senate, possibly as part of a larger appropriations bill.

Capitol Hill sources say the House and Senate versions of the WRDA weren’t formally reconciled in a conference committee, but with another, less-used reconciliation procedure. There were reportedly last-minute ongoing negotiations about the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

According to the fact sheet posted by the staff of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, WRDA 2020 authorizes the construction of all 46 pending Corps Chief’s Reports received since the enactment of WRDA 2018. Chief’s Reports are the final recommendations to Congress by the Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on rigorously studied water resources infrastructure priorities.

It authorizes 27 feasibility studies for water resources development projects, including those identified through the public review established by section 7001 of the WRDA of 2014.

It directs the Corps to complete six comprehensive river basin studies for the Great Lakes, the Lower Mississippi River, the Upper Mississippi River, the Lower Missouri River Basin, the Upper Missouri River and the Sacramento River.

On the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program, the fact sheet says only that the bill “invests additional federal resources for the construction of inland waterways projects to fund projects prioritized by inland users, including the Upper Ohio River navigation system and the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) for the Upper Mississippi River.”

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