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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5303 - Water Resources Development Act of 2016

September 26, 2016


STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

(House Rules)

(Rep. Shuster, R-PA, and 3 cosponsors)

While H.R. 5303 would advance some of the Administration's policies and principles including building a foundation for long-term economic growth, addressing significant risks to public safety, strengthening the Nation's resilience to the impacts of climate change, and protecting and restoring our environment, it should be improved with additional reforms and elimination of problematic provisions. Additionally, the Administration believes that the Congress should quickly pass targeted funding to support Flint, Michigan, whether in the Water Resources Development Act or another vehicle.

H.R. 5303 would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to construct several new projects that the Administration has recommended for authorization. New project and study authorizations should be limited to those most likely to provide high economic or environmental returns to the Nation or address a significant risk to public safety within the Corps' three main mission areas: flood and storm damage reduction; commercial navigation; and aquatic ecosystem restoration. The Administration supports provisions in the bill to de-authorize projects that no longer meet the Nation's needs.

Creating and maintaining the Nation's water resources infrastructure is a shared responsibility between Federal and non-Federal beneficiaries and requires that the management, use, protection, and restoration of our water resources continue to evolve to meet the Nation's future needs. The Administration welcomes the efforts in the bill to expand options for non-federal project partners who want to cover more of, or all of, the costs to study or construct a Corps project.

This legislation impedes Administration efforts to both enhance resilience and increase public-private collaboration and private investment in environmental restoration by establishing a confusing and duplicative mitigation bank program overseen by the RESTORE Council, which includes Governors from only the five states along the Gulf Coast.

The Administration urges the Congress to enact an important reform of the laws governing the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, which a proposal in the President's FY 2017 Budget would accomplish. The proposal would raise $1.3 billion in additional revenue over 10 years from the commercial users of these waterways, which would help finance future capital investment and maintenance work on these waterways that will benefit these users and support economic growth.

The Administration remains committed to working with the Congress on bipartisan legislation to address the Nation's water resources challenges.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5303 - Water Resources Development Act of 2016 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/319955