Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-05) today released the following statement on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) hearing on the legislative discussion draft that outlines the committee's key legislative and policy proposals that should be included in the next Water Resources Development Act (WRDA):
"I strongly support the Senate EPW Committee's draft WRDA bill and its inclusion of a number of key policies that will be critical to improving flood protection in the Sacramento region, including the Natomas Levee Improvement Program (NLIP). Natomas' levees protect thousands of Sacramento residents and billions of dollars of property and infrastructure. The inclusion of generic language that includes the authorization of the NLIP is a critical step in advancing Sacramento's flood protection efforts.
"I am pleased that the committee's WRDA discussion draft also includes language similar to my legislation, the "Levee Vegetation Review Act" to address the issues surrounding the Corps vegetation on levees policy. By requiring the Corps to move to regional variances from a one-size fits all policy, this WRDA draft would implement the flexibility needed to ensure funds are used where they are most needed to strengthen and fix our levees.
"Finally, I am pleased that this draft WRDA bill includes crediting language that would encourage State and local initiatives that accelerate flood control improvements by allowing federal crediting for work accomplished by non-federal interests. The Corps' recent decision to discontinue crediting under Section 104 of the 1986 WRDA has had a negative effect in the Sacramento region, delaying critical flood damage reduction projects. This WRDA would be a step in the right direction for getting these projects back on track.
"Authorizing the NLIP is my highest priority and I continue to seek all avenues to do so. During today's hearing, Senator Boxer entered into the record a letter from me supporting the draft WRDA bill. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Senator Boxer and Senator Inhofe to support this legislation as it moves forward. I also call on my colleagues in the House to move in a timely manner on a robust WRDA bill so that the necessary improvements to our nation's levees and other flood protection infrastructure projects can move forward."