WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a hearing titled “Oversight Hearing on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Program.”
The hearing featured testimony from Rickey Dale “R.D.” James, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works; Major General Scott Spellmon, deputy commanding general for Civil and Emergency Operations at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Lynn Budd, director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security; and Kyle R. “Chip” Kline, Jr., chairman of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board.
For more information on witness testimony click here.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Today’s hearing is an opportunity to hear directly from the leaders of the Army Corps.
“The Army Corps’ water infrastructure projects support America’s economy and help keep communities safe.
“These projects include maintaining navigable waterways, managing the risk from floods and coastal storms, and supporting aquatic ecosystems.
“They also provide power and water to communities around the nation.
“Over the last two months, extensive flooding has taken place in the Midwest due to melting snow and intense rain.
“This flooding has tragically resulted in loss of life as well as billions of dollars in damages.
“In April, this committee held a field hearing in Iowa to examine the Army Corps’ management of Midwest flooding.
“The goal was to get to the bottom of this disaster and move towards possible solutions.
“Given Wyoming’s own experience with flooding in places like Greybull and Worland, my constituents and I can sympathize with those who have lost so much.
“Today’s hearing will provide the committee another opportunity to hear from the leadership of the Army Corps of Engineers on the flooding in the Midwest.
“It will also give committee members an opportunity to hear testimony about the implementation of America’s Water Infrastructure Act.
“Since 2014, this committee has worked in a bipartisan way to pass critical water resource development legislation, every two years.
“These water infrastructure laws benefit every state.
“Last October, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law America’s Water Infrastructure Act into law.
“The legislation easily passed the Senate by a vote of 99-1.
“When fully implemented, the new law will have far-reaching impacts.
“These include creating jobs, growing the economy, protecting lives and property, cutting red tape, and promoting federalism.
“The benefits of America’s Water Infrastructure Act will be evident in the West as well as all across the country.
“Nationally, the Act includes permitting reforms to allow for the development of more water storage projects –and increases local input in the prioritization process.
“America’s Water Infrastructure Act will reduce flood risks through the construction of levees and the improvement of dams.
“Key provisions will benefit farmers and ranchers.
“In my home state of Wyoming, we will restore water storage capacity at federal reservoirs, and expand the Fontenelle Reservoir in Southwestern Wyoming.
“It also creates a permanent program to help mitigate the threat of floods caused by ice jams.
“The law requires the Army Corps to expedite snow-pack monitoring activities in the Upper Missouri River Basin
“This is to help predict and mitigate flood risks.
“This year’s increased snow-pack is a serious concern to many of my constituents, especially in Northern Wyoming including Teton County.
“The law does all this, while actually reducing the deficit.
“America’s Water Infrastructure Act represented excellent progress.
“Now it needs to be implemented.
“I look forward to hearing from today’s witnesses on how the Army Corps of Engineers is managing its civil works program.
“Thank you for coming before the committee to testify and we look forward to hearing your testimony.”