Alaskan Congressman Don Young today voted in support of H.R. 3080, a bipartisan bill to ensure the viability of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Civil Works programs including navigation, flood risk management, recreation, and infrastructure and environmental restoration. The bill passed the House by a vote of 417 to 3.
"This legislation has historically provided an opportunity to authorize specific projects in Alaska. However, the current moratorium on congressionally-directed spending has severely curtailed the ability of the Army Corps to fulfill its mission, and curtailed the Constitutional duty of Members of Congress to have power over federal spending decisions," said Rep. Young. "The House worked within the confines of the earmark moratorium on development of a reform bill that will bring us back to having oversight of federal spending, and included reforms to streamline the bureaucratic processes."
H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA) was developed with input from Members and stakeholders in listening sessions, roundtables, and hearings. The bill develops a process that would allow Congress to authorize specific projects in the future, without violating the earmark moratorium. Annually, the Corps will submit to Congress a list of project authorizations, studies, and modifications to existing Corps projects. Proposals would be submitted to the Corps from stakeholders. The reforms included in WRRDA aim to set hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies, require concurrent reviews, streamline environmental reviews, consolidate studies and eliminate duplicate analyses, and expedite the evaluation and processing of permits.
One reform with immediate impact on Alaska is the removal of the navigation servitude that exists on land on the waterfront in Seward. The taint on title currently impedes the economic development of the property.