MATTHEW DEMPSEY 202-224-9797

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today commented on the Senate passage of S. 728, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2006. The reauthorization of WRDA has been one of the top priorities for Senator Inhofe since becoming Chairman of the EPW Committee in 2003. The Senate today passed the WRDA bill by voice vote.

“In passing WRDA today, the Senate took a significant step forward in improving our nation's water resource needs,” Senator Inhofe said. “With today’s overwhelming vote in favor of WRDA, we should move quickly to a Conference with the House so that we can work out our differences and vote on a final package.

“The WRDA bill passed by the Senate meets many of the most critical water resource needs facing our nation today. For example, the WRDA bill improves navigation and increases capacity and efficiency of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, provides measure to increase hurricane and storm damage protection through wetlands preservation and restoration, and creates an inventory of the nation’s levees with assessments of high risk levees in order to protect people and property.

“Importantly, the WRDA bill also includes much needed improvements to Corps processes and policies. I look forward to further addressing Corps reform in Conference, noting that the Senate was clearly divided on the issue of peer review, failing to pass my amendment 49-51. Additionally, neither the McCain-Feingold nor my amendment passed on prioritization.

“I thank Subcommittee Chairman Kit Bond for his continued leadership in bringing this legislation together. I also want to recognize Senator Vitter, a member of the EPW Committee, for his efforts on this bill. I worked closely with Senator Vitter to ensure the WRDA bill provides strong hurricane, flood and coastal protection for Louisiana, a need clearly exposed in the midst of the devastation to the Gulf Coast region caused by Hurricane Katrina.”



With today’s passage in the Senate, and the House passage of WRDA last year, conferees will now be appointed by each chamber.