Nolan Votes for Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016
Citing $300 million per year for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and several other successful Nolan initiatives for Minnesota’s Eighth District included in the bill, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today voted in favor of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016.
“This was an overall good bill. We were successful in including several initiatives to support our ports, channels, locks, dams and other infrastructure, protecting and improving our waterway transportation system,” Nolan said. “I’m pleased to have worked with my colleagues to include so many important bipartisan initiatives for the Eighth District.”
Among other things, the measure also authorizes $170 million in emergency relief money to address the crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Nolan’s WRDA initiatives promote the GLRI, nature-based solutions to water resources projects, fair liability standards, use of American-made goods, fishery and ecosystem restoration, and relief for Non-Federal Sponsors in water resource projects:
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI): Reauthorizing the GLRI through 2020 at $300 million per year.
- Nature-Based Solutions: Directing the Army Corps of Engineers to consider incorporating the assets that nature already provides into projects intended to control flooding, protect our coastlines and river shores and restore precious ecosystems.
- Indemnification Study: Ensuring that the Army Corps of Engineers completes a study examining their approach to liability when entering into project partnerships with states, municipalities, and non-profits (also known as Non-Federal sponsors) to conduct water resources projects. Under current Army Corps operating practices, they enter into partnership agreements with Non-Federal sponsors where the Non-Federal sponsor is obligated to fulfill the operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, and rehabilitation management of the project while the Army Corps oversees the process. Under current rules in many states – including Minnesota – Non-Federal sponsors have complete liability for any damages that are at the fault of the Army Corps or its contractors, leaving the Army Corps with zero responsibility.
- “Buy American”: Requiring the Army Corps to annually report a record of foreign supplies and materials being used for Army Corps civil works projects, encouraging the use of American made goods and promoting businesses, creating good paying jobs, and boosting our nation’s economy.
- Great Lakes Fishery & Ecosystem Restoration Program (GLFER): Ensuring that funds from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) are being used towards projects eligible under the GLFER to plan, implement, and evaluate projects supporting the restoration of the fishery, ecosystem, and beneficial uses of the Great Lakes, with 35 percent matching funds from nonfederal project sponsors.
- Relief to Non-Federal Sponsors: Providing relief to Non-Federal sponsors before, during and after their role as partners in Army Corps water resource projects. Currently, there is no cap as to when Non-Federal sponsors are no longer obligated or liable to the project, even if a project is finished, defunded or terminated. This initiative states that the obligations of Non-Federal sponsors will terminate a) no later than 50 years after completion of project construction or b) when projects purposes are achieved.