FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Contact: Anne Lupardus
Rep. Kind Votes to Override Bush Veto of
Water Resources Development Act
Legislation Would Benefit Upper Mississippi River Basin
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) today voted with an overwhelming majority of the House to successfully override President Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), a vital water infrastructure bill that authorizes hundreds of Corps of Engineers flood control, navigation, beach erosion control, and environmental restoration projects across the country, including a number in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
"This is a tremendously important bill to the Upper Mississippi River Basin," Rep. Kind said. "It will allow a number of infrastructure and environmental improvement projects to move forward, including new locks and dams on the Mississippi and a barrier to protect the river from harmful invasive species. With his veto, the President is ignoring the reality that these projects are long overdue and necessary to the infrastructure and economy of our country."
Contrary to President Bush's characterization of the bill as being "fiscally irresponsible," the bill does not actually spend any money. It is an authorization bill that simply allows the government to move forward on projects, with funding appropriated later. Furthermore, because the Republican leadership failed to reauthorize WRDA in more than seven years, this legislation addresses a growing backlog of vital project requests. The bill also has overwhelming, bipartisan support - the House passed it 381-40 on August 1 and the Senate passed it 81-12 on September 24.
WRDA would benefit the Upper Mississippi River Basin in a number of ways:
* Infrastructure improvement, including new locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River.
* Environmental restoration and ecosystem management projects, including island building, construction of fish passages, floodplain restoration, water level management, and spillway, dam, and levee modification.
* Long term monitoring and restoration of the Upper Mississippi River Basin by continuing the Environmental Management Program (EMP), as well as allowing projects to move forward through the new Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP), which will build on EMP's success.
* Construction of a barrier preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species into the Upper Mississippi River ecosystem within six months.
* Balance of construction projects with ecosystem restoration projects.