Simpson Cosponsored Amendment on Aquatic Invasive Species Included in final bill
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson voted last night for H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013. H.R. 3080 authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out its mission to develop, maintain, and support the Nation’s vital port and waterways infrastructure needs, and support effective and targeted flood protection and environmental restoration needs.
“Navigation improvement is particularly important in Idaho, where the Snake River feeds the lower Columbia River international gateway and annually moves about six million tons of grain, paper products, petroleum products, and general container cargo produced by Idahoans,” Simpson said.
Historically, Congress has passed legislation every two years to provide clear direction on such projects to the Administration and the Corps, but no bill has been signed into law since 2007. Highlights of H.R. 3080 include requirements to streamline environmental reviews to accelerate project delivery, deauthorization of $12 billion of old, inactive projects to pay for new activities, and the establishment of a new, transparent process for the submission of future projects for review that will prioritize water resources development activities with strong Congressional oversight.
Congressman Simpson also cosponsored an amendment that would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an assessment on the impacts of aquatic invasive species on federal assets and current federal spending on aquatic invasive species prevention. The amendment was included in the bill.
“Aquatic invasive species, like the quagga mussel, can have devastating effects on our water infrastructure, and both prevention and mitigation of that damage is very costly,” Simpson said. “When we respond to this damage, we must make sure we are being as effective as we can be with taxpayer dollars. This report will identify where our current resources are dedicated so that agencies can coordinate more efficiently with each other and the States to ensure there is no duplication of activities.”
H.R. 3080 passed by a vote of 417-3, and will now move to the Senate for further review and action.