Last week, a joint congressional conference committee approved a bicameral and bipartisan conference report on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which will now become the final version of the bill. WRRDA authorizes policies and funding for the U.S. Army Corps to address U.S. ports, waterways and dams, as well as projects for flood protection, drinking water and environmental restoration.
As reported by the press, the bill also includes some Everglades restoration projects. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has indicated that the bill authorizes over $1 billion for four Everglades projects that would direct freshwater into Biscayne Bay and the southeastern Everglades. Projects include modifications to the C-111 canal and the storage of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee to reduce flows into the Caloosahatchee River.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Senator David Vitter (R-LA), EPW Committee Ranking Member, and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Transportation Committee Ranking Member, issued the following statement on the agreement:
"We are proud to deliver what the American public wants and needs. This conference report maintains ports and navigation routes for commerce and the movement of goods, provides flood control that protects lives and property, and restores vital ecosystems to preserve our natural heritage. This important measure will strengthen our Nation's infrastructure and keep America competitive in the global marketplace."
Additional details will be released when the WRRDA Conference Report is filed.