STATEMENT OF SENATOR HARRY REID
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Hearing on the Water Resources Development Issues
June 18, 2002
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I look forward to working with you and ranking member Smith and the Subcommittee ranking member Inhofe as we set about writing a WRDA bill this year.
Traditionally, this Committee works off of the Administration’s WRDA proposal, putting its imprint on that proposal.
We haven’t received that proposal as of yet and we plan to move forward in writing a bill regardless.
The WRDA bill is important to every member of the Senate.
Large Corps projects tend to get all the attention when we write our WRDA bill. But some of the relatively small Corps projects can have a big impact in Nevada.
One program we authorized in the last WRDA bill has been tremendously important to my state.
Section 595 of that bill authorized design and construction assistance for water related environmental infrastructure and resource protection in rural communities.
We have helped a number of small communities meet their water resource needs through this program.
Another program of interest to me is the Restoration of Abandoned Mine Sites (RAMS) program.
Through this program, the Corps helps address water quality problems associated with hardrock mines.
This hearing will also touch upon measures to ensure that the Corps engages in its traditional work of navigation and flood control.
The two programs I mentioned above don’t necessary fall within the original mission of the Corps, yet the Corps has provided valuable assistance to Nevada through those programs.
We should be mindful that so-called “mission creep” to one Senator may be a very important, well-run program to another.
Other measures proposed for consideration include those that would help ensure that Army Corps projects are economically and environmentally sound.
The Army’s own Inspector General, two National Academy of Sciences panels and the General Accounting Office have offered constructive criticism on the economic and environmental performance of the Corps.
For example, one of those NAS panels recommended that some Corps projects would benefit from independent review. (NAS, Inland Navigation System Planning, 2001.)
I look forward to hearing testimony on these and related issues today as we move forward with WRDA 2002.