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Shuster & Gibbs Statements from Hearing on Recent U.S. Army Corps Chief’s Reports

Washington, DC, September 15, 2016 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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Shuster and Gibbs Opening Statements
Hearing on “A Review of Recently Completed United States Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s Reports”

September 15, 2016
(Remarks as Prepared)

Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Today’ hearing will be valuable as we continue our work on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016.  It is critical to get WRDA back on a two-year cycle to maintain Congress’ role in overseeing the Corps’ work, and in improving our infrastructure.  Today’s two Chief’s Reports and two Post-Authorization Change Reports have undergone rigorous economic and environmental analyses, and may be included in the next WRDA.

I’d like to especially thank General Jackson, General Semonite, and the Corps for their continued attention to the navigation improvements on the Upper Ohio River.  The Emsworth, Dashields, and Montgomery (EDM) Locks Facilities are critical to the operations at the Port of Pittsburgh, one of the Nation’s busiest inland ports.

These locks have been in operation since the 1920’s and 1930’s.  In fact, Montgomery Lock is the “new” lock, but it was constructed in 1936.  This proposed project we are reviewing today would construct three new lock chambers to replace the EDM Locks.  Without these improvements, the locks and dams that feed into this port would continue to degrade, and threaten the flow of commerce along this critical waterway.

Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment

This past May, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure unanimously passed H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.  This legislation builds upon the success of WRRDA 2014, one of the most policy and reform-focused pieces of legislation related to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

H.R. 5303 is a bipartisan bill that was developed by working across the aisle to achieve a common goal of investing in America’s future.  H.R. 5303 contains no earmarks and strengthens our water transportation networks to promote competitiveness, prosperity, and economic growth.

This Committee held numerous public roundtables and official hearings in developing this legislation.  We have heard from the public, industry, stakeholders, and from our colleagues in Congress while developing this legislation and have incorporated their ideas into H.R. 5303.  I appreciate Mr. Shuster, Mr. DeFazio, and Ms. Napolitano’s bipartisan work to address a vital need for America.

Today we are holding a hearing to review two Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s Reports that have been delivered to Congress since this Subcommittee’s previous hearing on May 17th of this year.  We intend to review these proposed projects to ensure they meet our criteria for authorization.  Additionally, the Corps of Engineers delivered to Congress two Post Authorization Change Reports, recommending modifications to ongoing construction projects at Swope Park, Missouri, and Picayune Strand, Florida.

These Chief’s Reports and Post Authorization Change Reports address the missions of the Corps and balance economic development and environmental considerations equally.

The Corps of Engineers constructs projects for the purposes of navigation, flood control, shoreline protection, hydroelectric power, recreation, environmental protection, restoration and enhancement, and fish and wildlife mitigation.

The Corps of Engineers planning process considers economic development and environmental needs as it addresses water resources challenges.  This rigorous planning process addresses the Nation’s water resources needs by exploring a full range of alternatives in developing solutions that meet both national and local needs.

The two Chief’s Reports and two Post Authorization Change Reports we are discussing today are the result of this rigorous planning process.  These projects are proposed by non-federal interests in cooperation and consultation with the Corps.  All of these Chief’s Reports and Post Authorization Change Reports, while tailored to meet locally developed needs, have national economic and environmental benefits.

I’d like to welcome General Jackson to this important hearing today.  Thank you for your hard work on both the Upper Ohio River and Southwest Coastal Louisiana’s Chief’s Reports.

Click here for additional information from today’s hearing, including testimony, video, and background information.

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