Wicker Applauds Committee Passage of Water Resources Legislation

Bill Advances Important Waterways Projects in Mississippi

March 21, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) on Wednesday praised the unanimous approval of the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (S. 601) by the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee. The bill supports the development of water-related resources and authorizes the Secretary of the Army to construct projects for improving U.S. rivers and harbors. Sen. Wicker was named to the EPW Committee this year and worked to include language in the bill supporting needed maintenance dredging at the Port of Gulfport.

“Projects that strengthen America’s water resources are vital to trade, commerce, and our economic well-being,” said Wicker. “The Corps’ work continues to protect lives and property, as we saw with the success of the Mississippi River and Tributaries project during the historic floods of 2011. After five years, passage of the Water Resources Development Act would help ensure that these projects remain effective and that the country’s coastal and inland ports are properly maintained. Navigable water channels are key to economic growth and job creation.”

The Water Resources Development Act would advance many of Mississippi’s storm protection projects, first authorized after Hurricane Katrina. It also requires expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to be prioritized for harbor maintenance and dredging. Currently, only a limited amount of revenues in the trust fund – generated by fees collected from shippers – are being used for their intended purpose. Additionally, the water resources bill would establish a national levee safety program and support upgrades and repairs to water and wastewater facilities in communities struggling to comply with stricter regulations under the Clean Water Act.

The last time Congress passed a Water Resources Development Act was in 2007. Consideration of the bill by the full Senate is expected in the coming weeks.

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