The conference committee on the water resources bill will push its work
into the new year. Despite making progress over the past two weeks, conferees
working to resolve differences between the Senate’s Water Resources Development
Act (S. 601) and the House’s Water Resources Reform and Development Act (H.R.
3080) have run out of time.
One of the biggest differences being considered by conferees
is the process for authorizing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) navigation,
flood control and wetland restoration projects – the Senate bill would
authorize about $5.7 billion in projects through 2018, while the House bill
would authorize 23 projects at about $3.1 billion over five years. Until now, Congress
has used earmarks to designate Corps projects in the legislation – a practice
that conflicts with the current earmark moratorium.
The House and Senate bills address many water resources
issues important to counties, including Corps Vegetation Management policy
clarifications, language that would include state and local governments in
decision-making processes, pilot programs that allow local governments the lead
role in implementing projects and studies, levee safety, and invasive species.
NACo sent a letter to conferees in November advocating for these provisions and
other policies that provide counties reliable, long-term and increased
investment in water infrastructure. A copy of that letter can be found here.
Contact: Jessica Monahan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.942.4217