House Water Resources Bill: Pork in a Reform Costume
"Just in time for Halloween, this bill has lots of treats for special interests and a few tricks that will hurt wildlife habitat and taxpayer's wallets."
Today, the House voted to pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013, despite concerns from both sides of the aisle over rollbacks to environmental protections and the high cost to taxpayers.
Adam Kolton, Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation’s National Advocacy Center, said in response:
"The title of the bill is utterly misleading, because this is just business-as-usual pork in a reform costume. Just in time for Halloween, this bill has lots of treats for special interests and a few tricks that will hurt wildlife habitat and taxpayer’s wallets. A true reform bill would have set priorities in the face of tight budgets and climate change, to prepare the nation for more intense storms and flooding. This bill reads as if Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy never happened.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has an estimated $60-80 billion backlog of authorized projects. There is not now—and will not ever be—enough money to construct all the items on this laundry list. By limiting environmental reviews, the House has undermined the very process that has long helped us identify which projects provide real value and which ones are environmentally-damaging boondoggles that are not in our national interest.
"While the bill contains measures to restore national treasures like the Everglades and the Mississippi River Delta, it is difficult for us to support a bill that will likely result in damage to countless other river systems. It is up to the conferees and the Obama Administration to improve this bill before it becomes law."