Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) today released the following statement after the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) unanimously passed a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), S.601, out of committee:
"The WRDA bill that was unanimously passed out of the Senate EPW Committee this morning includes 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 100,000 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, and I am thankful to Senator Boxer (D-CA) for her outstanding bipartisan leadership in advancing this WRDA.
"I am pleased that the committee's WRDA 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 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 WRDA bill attempts to 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.
"I look forward to continuing to work closely with Senator Boxer and Senator Vitter 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. The people of Sacramento have waited long enough, now is the time to move forward with a WRDA that will allow for authorization of the NLIP."