11-08-2007, 08:11 PM #1
Water Resources Development Act MICHIGAN
I get these updates/emails from my state representatives about boating related polotical action. I think because I wrote them about a couple things before so I'm on their mailing list now. Got this today.
Dear Mr. DeFlorio:
I thought you might be interested in knowing about legislation the Senate passed today to address America’s critical water infrastructure needs. The Senate voted 79 to14 to override President Bush’s recent veto of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA, H.R.1495). Since the House of Representatives previously voted to override the veto, it now becomes law.
On September 24, 2007, I supported the initial passage of the WRDA conference report in the Senate, which was approved by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 81 to 12. I believe it is critical that we invest in domestic priorities, such as water infrastructure projects, which enhance our economic competitiveness, improve our environment, and provide valuable services to the public. We have waited more than seven years to enact a bill that effectively addresses our nation’s water infrastructure needs. Unfortunately, President Bush chose to veto this long overdue legislation, leaving it up to Congress to address these critical priorities.
Included in WRDA are several measures that will help the shipping and boating industries in Michigan. I wrote a provision in this law that helps address the serious problem of dredging backlogs in the Great Lakes by directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) to expedite the maintenance and dredging of important navigational channels within the Great Lakes. This measure will help to alleviate some of the hardship caused by delays in dredging projects, which have been exacerbated by the historically low water levels throughout the Great Lakes. In addition to the dredging measures, WRDA contains an important provision that will help to ensure the viability of Great Lakes shipping for years to come by waiving the non-federal cost share requirement for construction of an additional lock in the Soo Locks system in Sault Ste. Marie. The Soo Locks currently handle two-thirds of the carrying capacity of U.S. Great Lakes shipping and are in serious need of a second large lock to protect shipping-reliant industries throughout Michigan.
WRDA also addresses two important environmental issues for Michigan: combined sewer overflows and invasive species. This law authorizes $35 million for a statewide program to upgrade outdated combined sewer systems throughout Michigan, which often overflow after periods of heavy precipitation. This program will help protect the Great Lakes ecosystem in a sensible and effective manner by mitigating a major source of pollution entering the Lakes. WRDA also works to stop the movement of invasive species, like the Asian carp, into the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River watershed. This law authorizes the Army Corps to construct, operate, and maintain two dispersal barriers in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal at full federal cost, thus helping to protect the Great Lakes ecosystem by stemming the flow of invasive species into its waters.
Making sound investments in our nation’s infrastructure has long been one of my highest priorities. WRDA will provide our nation with the opportunity to make critical vital infrastructure upgrades and protect the environment. I am pleased this long overdue legislation will has now become law. If you would like to view my full press release on the Water Resources Development Act, please click on the following link: [http://levin.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=287069].
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