Nolan Amendments Included in Water Resource Development Act (WRDA)
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Two key amendments and several major initiatives by U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan were included in the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today.
“I’m delighted that we were able to include bipartisan measures I’ve championed to promote such as nature-based solutions to water resources projects, advance aquatic invasive species research, establish a grant program to assist municipal wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities to comply with mercury standards, and designate the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund solely for harbor maintenance,” Nolan said.
Nolan’s first amendment boosts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) efforts to employ natural infrastructure – also known as nature-based solutions - to their water resources projects. Specifically, the measure directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a 2-year study to: assess how the Army Corps is currently using nature-based solutions, if at all; determine the costs, benefits, impacts, and trade-offs associated with utilizing natural infrastructure and nature-based solutions; outline any regulatory or policy barriers in place that block or discourage the use of nature-based solutions; and recommend any policy changes to improve the use of nature-based solutions by the Army Corps.
Nolan’s second amendment directs the Army Corps Engineer Research & Development Center to address the spread and impacts of aquatic invasive species by undertaking research on the management and eradication of aquatic invasive species, including Asian Carp and Zebra Mussels. The amendment requires the Army Corps to work with all of their Regional offices across the country and report back to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works within 180 days. This report will include recommending a plan to address the spread and impacts of aquatic invasive species.
Nolan’s third amendment would have created a grant program for the Lake Superior Basin Providing assistance to publicly owned municipal wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities struggling to abide by government-mandated mercury standards. Unfortunately, the amendment did not pass due to a procedural concern. Nolan plans to continue to fight for this program as a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
In addition, Nolan applauded the committee for including two key policy items he has long championed and supported. The first is a provision calling for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to be used solely for harbor maintenance purposes. Nolan has pointed out that more than $9 billion in user-fee funds intended for dredging and other harbor maintenance are now being used for other purposes.
The second provision is the reauthorization of the National Dam Safety Program through 2023. The program serves as a partnership of States, Federal agencies, and other stakeholders that encourages and promote the establishment and maintenance of effective Federal and State dam safety programs to reduce the risks to human life, property, and the environment from dam related hazards and issues.