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Senate committee advances 2024 Water Resource Development Act

The bill mandates 81 new feasibility studies and authorizes several construction projects, ensuring continued support for essential water infrastructure.

Ocean Waves Sunset

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today praised the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for unanimously advancing the Thomas R. Carper Water Resource Development Act of 2024 (WRDA). This crucial legislation authorizes navigation and ecosystem restoration projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The bill, advanced by a 19-0 vote, includes authorization for 81 feasibility studies and eight new or modified construction projects. It also directs the Corps to expedite the completion of several ongoing studies and projects from past WRDAs. The U.S. inland waterways system is essential to NGFA-member companies and the agricultural supply chain, with barges moving about half of all grains to export grain elevators. Efficient inland locks and dams, along with modern ports, are critical to America’s infrastructure advantage.

“Today’s markup demonstrates the dedication of Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and fellow lawmakers to maintaining waterways infrastructure legislation on a biennial basis in a bipartisan fashion,” NGFA stated. “We appreciate the efforts of committee leaders and Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairman Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and Subcommittee Ranking Member Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.”

Chairman Carper highlighted the bill’s significance, stating, “With strong, bipartisan support of WRDA 2024, the EPW Committee has come together to address the diverse water infrastructure needs of the American people. This year’s reauthorization directs the Corps to construct critical water infrastructure projects and continue vital flood risk management and ecosystem restoration programs – all while making our communities more resilient to extreme weather and creating good-paying jobs. I look forward to the work ahead to get this important legislation to the President’s desk.”

Ranking Member Capito emphasized the importance of the bill for flood control and water resources infrastructure, noting, “The Army Corps of Engineers conducts critical work in communities across the United States. This year’s WRDA 2024 contains significant wins for West Virginia, and I appreciate the EPW Committee working together to advance this important bipartisan legislation today.”

Senator Kelly, Chair of the Senate EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, added, “With today’s passage of the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act, we’re one step closer to expanding the Army Corps of Engineers’ ability to help states like Arizona prepare for and respond to drought conditions. I’m particularly glad to have included provisions that will expedite critical infrastructure and flood control projects in Arizona.”

Senator Cramer, Ranking Member of the Senate EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, concluded, “This year’s Water Resources Development Act is an example of timely, regular order, reflecting committee members’ input and delivering wins for North Dakota communities. Our state and tribal nations will benefit from the Corps’ ability to better support local flood control projects and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities.”

The NGFA underscored the importance of the U.S. inland waterways system for the agricultural supply chain, noting that a strike or lockout in the rail services would lead to ripple effects across the entire industry, significantly impacting the livestock industry, biofuels operations, flour mills, and agricultural export facilities.

“An operational railroad is essential for agricultural production and food distribution, and we thank you for your responsiveness to this imminent supply chain issue,” NGFA stated.

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