— U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today questioned witnesses in a hearing entitled, “The Role of Natural and Nature-Based Features in Water Resources Projects.”


LONGEVITY OF NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURE: “When using natural or nature-based infrastructure, what is the maintenance and longevity of that project compared to what you think of as more traditional type of infrastructure?...Obviously when you think of the massive investments the [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] makes and the massive structures that are built or the massive problems they’re addressing, anything that can last longer and be more cost-effective is at the top of the list. Maybe some of these solutions—while they might be more expensive on the front end—on the back they might end up actually be cost saving and have a lot of other external benefits.”

DIFFERENT TOPOGRAPHIES: “In West Virginia, we have a lot of rivers and a lot of flash floods. Most of the pictures you showed were coastline pictures. Do you find this kind of solution works better on a coast or is more effective than say on river banks and more rapid flow water, which is what we experience in my state with the mountainous terrain?”

CONFLICTING FEDERAL AGENCIES: “I think I heard you and maybe Mr. Johnson had some concerns about different agencies playing into these projects and is the right hand talking to the left hand? Can you expound on that a little bit and give me an example of other agencies that are working with the Corps and the non-federal sponsors to get these types of projects off the ground?...Do you have experience with conflicting federal agencies in working on a Corps project?”

DISADVANTAGING CERTAIN PROJECTS: “The Biden administration’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request includes language stating one of the objectives considered in developing the request was ‘not funding work that directly subsidizes fossil fuels and work that lowers the cost of consumption or raises the revenues retained by producers of fossil fuels.’ Would that cause you problems because of the function your port is there for—main function—servicing the oil industry? You’re going to get knocked down in your ability to get help.”


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