Rounds Statement on EPW Committee Passage of Water Infrastructure Bill
Comprehensive legislation passes committee unanimously, includes Rounds’ priorities
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), today issued the following statement after the EPW Committee voted unanimously to pass America’s Water Infrastructure Act. This legislation includes a number of Rounds’ priorities.
“The water infrastructure bill we passed today will benefit all South Dakota communities,” said Rounds. “It includes language to update and maintain water infrastructure systems such as dams and levees, upgrade drinking and waste water systems and increase water storage to make certain all citizens have access to safe, clean water. It also gives state and local government leaders a seat at the table to prioritize Army Corps projects in their regions.”
“Additionally, America’s Water Infrastructure Act will help grow our economy by cutting red tape and help protect against dangerous floods and droughts.
“I’m pleased that this bill prioritizes the implementation of the Upper Missouri River Basin snowpack monitoring program that I’ve been calling for since taking office. This program will help mitigate the possibility of a flood event for those living near the Missouri River.”
“We were also able to secure a provision for the Corps to carry out a project for shoreline stabilization on the Lower Brule Reservation. This much-needed project will help fix erosion that is threatening an entire community and the surrounding environment.
“Lastly, we were able to secure a verbal commitment from the Chairman to work with us to fix an Obama-era proposal known as the ‘surplus water rule,’ which restricts South Dakotans’ access to water in Corps-controlled land. South Dakotans are legally entitled to use the water, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make certain we can better use our water along the Missouri River system.”
“I’m happy we were able to pass this important bipartisan legislation, and I look forward to bringing it to the Senate floor soon.”
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 is:
- Includes $7 billion in new deauthorizations – saving taxpayers’ dollars.
- Requires the Corps to responsibly manage non-Federal dollars by either applying excess funds to another project by the same sponsor or refunding the money.
- Holds the Army Corps financially accountable for any failures to complete studies and reports called for in the legislation in a timely manner.
- Reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act (WIFIA) to promote leveraging millions in non-federal funds for water projects.
- Cuts bureaucratic red tape to ensure local communities have more control over which projects receive funding.
- Empowers states during the permitting process for new water storage projects by allowing states to challenge Corps decisions on the purpose of a project, or permit conditions.
- Authorizes or reauthorizes important water infrastructure programs and projects that benefit all 50 states.
- Pushes the Corps to complete feasibility studies for projects in two years.
Protects Lives and Property
- Reduces flooding risks for rural communities.
- Invests in repairing aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
- Gives small and rural communities the assistance they need to clean up and prevent pollution in their drinking water and wastewater systems.
- Assists in creating new standards to make water utilities and water storage more affordable for small and rural communities.
- Provides technical assistance to states to help complying with expensive and burdensome EPA regulatory standards that states cannot afford.
Full text of the bill can be found here.