WRRDA Bill Headed To House Floor Next Week

Shutdown of Olmsted Averted in Final Budget Deal

WCI Breaking News
17 October 2013

With the Federal government now reopened, the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) – H.R. 3080. – will head to the House floor next week, likely October 23 or 24, to be voted on. The bill is expected to pass. Senator Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, has said the House bill will be immediately conferenced with the Senate version, S. 601. A final bill could be completed before Thanksgiving.

The passage of last night’s Continuing Resolution to fund the Federal government and raise the debt ceiling contained a provision to raise the 902(b) cap on the amount that can be spent on the Olmsted Project in Illinois to $2.9 billion (from $1.56 billion currently). The measure does not appropriate funds, but allows work on the project to continue. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers informed the Inland Waterways Users Board in August that the Olmsted project would be shuttered in November 2013 and would displace 400 workers if Congress did not act the raise the cap.

In response to the Corps announcement, the Senate-passed WRDA bill, the House WRRDA bill, and the FY 2014 Energy & Water Appropriations bill all contain provisions to raise the 902(b) cap but will not become law before the project would have shut down in November.

If Olmsted were to have shut down, according to the Corps, it would have cost $40 million to restart the project, and of course, needlessly delay its delivery.

WCI will continue to keep members posted on the progress next week toward passage of WRRDA.