This week, the House Appropriations Committee approved, by unanimous voice vote, the FY ’15 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies appropriations bill that funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Civil Works program, with record-strong numbers reflecting the impact of policy changes made by the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA).
IL Corn is happy to see the House Appropriations Committee react so favorably to the reforms passed earlier this month in WRRDA. Robust funding for the USACE means that Olmsted Lock and Dam and other projects stalled for lack of funds will see faster completion.
We then hope that completing stalled and delayed projects will lead to new starts on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. IL Corn will be working with the U.S. Secretary of the Army to prioritize these new start projects.
Highlights of the Committee’s action include:
- Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program is funded at $5.493 billion; that is $25 million above the FY ’14 enacted level and $959.5 million above the President's budget request.
- In the Construction account, the Olmsted project received funding at $160 million and the Lower Mon project received $9 million, as requested by the Administration. The Committee also provided $112 million in additional funding for Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF)-financed projects to be selected by the Secretary of the Army, plus $85.5 million in undesignated navigation project money reflecting the funding increases from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. The bill’s overall funding level for the Construction account was $1.704 billion, $48.5 million above the FY ‘14 enacted level, and $579.5 million above the Administration’s requested level.
- In the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) account, of the $303.4 million in additional funding provided, $45 million is for inland waterways, $150.5 million is for deep-draft harbors and channels, $42.5 million is for small/remote/subsistence projects, and $25.4 million is undesignated. This is the highest O&M funding level to date. The bill’s overall funding level for the O&M account is $2.905 billion, $44 million above the FY ‘14 enacted level and $305 million above the Administration’s request.
- In the Investigations account, $14.5 million in additional funding is provided for navigation, $4 million of which is specified for inland and $5 million is undesignated.
- The Administration’s request for funding to study the disposition of L/D 1-4 and the Allegheny River L/D’s was rejected.
- Mississippi Rivers & Tributaries (MR&T) account is $260 million, down from $307 million in FY ’14.
- Funding for the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army was reduced to $2 million in FY ’15 from $5 million in FY ‘14.
Last night the Senate Appropriations Committee postponed today’s markup of the FY ’15 Energy and Water Development bill, amid controversy over potential amendments related to climate change and Clean Water Act issues.
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