WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), questioned R.D. James, nominee to be assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, during a nomination hearing of the committee. Barrasso questioned James on several water issues facing the state of Wyoming, including ice jam flooding in Worland, WY, and the Waters of the United States rule.

Barrasso secures commitment from R.D. James to work with him and the state of Wyoming on a long-term solution for ice jam flooding in Worland, WY: 

Click here for video of Chairman Barrasso questioning James on ice jam floods in Worland, WY.

“Mr. James, I’d like to express my appreciation to the Army Corps for being a part of the conversation that led to the removal of a sandbar from the Big Horn River.

“Earlier this year, the sandbar had caused ice jams and serious floods in the city of Worland, Wyoming, necessitating the evacuation of 80 of its citizens.

“While the sandbar’s removal is an important step toward protecting lives and property, I would note it is only a temporary solution. Eventually, sediment will redeposit and the area could face the same threat.

“Will you commit to working with Wyoming and me to find a long-term solution to this problem?”

Barrasso questions James on ice jam flooding pilot program: 

Click here for video of Chairman Barrasso asking about ice jam flooding pilot program.

“Mr. James, in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016,

Congress passed a provision, that I authored, to establish a pilot program that will help develop effective technologies that reduce ice jams. 

“This is important to communities in Wyoming as ice jams are a primary driver for flooding in areas such as Worland and Greybull.

“I understand the Corps is still working to identify projects for this program.

“If confirmed, will you commit to making the implementation of this pilot program a priority?”

Barrasso asks James about the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule: 

Click here for video of Chairman Barrasso questioning James on WOTUS.

“Mr. James, the EPA is currently in the process of considering a revised definition of ‘waters of the United States.’

“Many in my state have been concerned about expanding federal control over state waters under the previous administration, and requiring ranchers and farmers to get costly permits for simply putting a shovel in the ground on their property.

“For example, under the previous administration, a constituent of mine,

Mr. Andy Johnson of Fort Bridger, Wyoming, was threatened with $75,000 in fines per day for simply building a stock pond on his property.

“If confirmed, will you commit to use common sense and consider the best interests of the people of my state and the entire country when interpreting federal laws?”