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WRDA 2007 Still in Conference

The 2007 Water Resources Development Act, H.R. 1495, after being passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate this spring, was in conference as of the middle of July, 2007.

The House had not appointed its conferees as of that time, while the Senate appointed the following conferees on May 17: Barbara Boxer, chair, (D-Calif.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Joseph Lieberman (ID, Conn.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Hillary Clinton (D-New York), Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Warner (R, Va.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and David Vitter (R-La.)

The House passed H.R. 1495 April 19 by a roll call vote of 394 to 25. The Senate passed its version May 16 by a roll call vote of 91 to 4.

The National Waterways Conference, which, under the leadership of Worth Hager, was instrumental in urging both houses of congress to vote on the legislation, gives this explanation of The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): “The WRDA is an authorization bill, and does not fund projects. Its purpose is to deem a project eligible for future funding.

“Water Resources projects are the nation’s only infrastructure projects that are subject to extensive vetting. After a one-year reconnaissance study, projects go through a 103-step feasibility process (usually three years) to determine an optimum solution to a problem. If a project has a local funding partner, if a project is economically beneficial to the nation (no local, state or regional benefits are counted) and of a project is environmentally sound, it may get a favorable “Chief of Engineers Report” that puts it in the queue for authorization, should Congress be so inclined.”

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