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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McINTYRE. Madam Chairman, under the Water Resources Development Act, which we know as WRDA, of 1986, Congress authorized most coastal and shoreline protection and beach restoration projects to be periodically nourished according to a cost-sharing agreement between the Federal Government and a local sponsor, usually a municipality, for a period of up to 50 years from the starting date of the initial construction of the project.

Several of these projects are rapidly approaching the end of that first 50-year period of Federal participation. Currently, there is no language in place to provide a process for the reauthorization of these projects.

In order for the Federal Government to remain a continuing partner to protect the people, the infrastructure, the economy, and the environment of our Nation's coastal communities, Congress must give the Army Corps of Engineers the authority to assess continued Federal participation in expiring beach and coastal projects prior to the end of their original authorizations in order to prevent interruptions to Federal renourishment efforts.

This authority would ensure that communities' shorelines will remain safe and economically viable for years to come by letting the Army Corps and the local communities help determine whether or not to continue a shore protection project based on science, on local support, and the standards that the Corps uses for determining whether there should be continued Federal fiscal participation and whether it is warranted.

These projects are of national and regional significance. Coastal storm damage reduction projects not only support regional economies and, indeed, the national economy, but they provide critical protection against hurricanes and, as we now are in hurricane season, realize the seriousness of this and other dangerous storms.

Federal participation in these projects is determined based on a benefit-cost analysis, meaning that these projects go through a significant study in order to determine that they are merited and that it is in the Federal Government's financial interest to continue to participate in these projects.

However, let's be clear that this amendment would not cut Congress out of the loop, because Congress would always have the final say on final approval of reauthorizing these projects. Any approval for a construction phase would still have to be approved by Congress. So it only makes sense to allow these projects to proceed without interruption.

Madam Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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