Coalition calls for swift action on energy, water appropriations

The Water Resources Coalition called on Congress to move forward with consideration and passage of the FY09 Energy and Water Appropriations bills, which fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. For FY09 the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with almost $600 million more than the Administration requested and a little over $160 million more for the Bureau of Reclamation...

WASHINGTON, DC, July 31, 2008 -- The Water Resources Coalition called on Congress to move forward with consideration and passage of the FY09 Energy and Water Appropriations bills, which fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. "The nation's infrastructure is one of our greatest assets and one of our most important responsibilities," said Stephen E. Sandherr, Chief Executive Officer of the Associated General Contractors. "Additional investment in critical environmental and public safety needs will improve our nation's well-being. America needs these investments now to help spur our economy and keep America strong and safe," Sandherr concluded.

For FY09 the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with almost $600 million more than the Administration requested and a little over $160 million more for the Bureau of Reclamation. The Senate Committee provided about $560 million more for the Corps above the Administration request and about $150 million more for Reclamation.

"Delaying action on these vital projects puts the nation at risk of another disaster," said Patrick J. Natale, P.E., F.ASCE, CAE., Executive Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers. "Given the devastating flooding in the Midwest and the ongoing need for additional flood control in the Gulf Coast, it is hard to argue against these critical needs."

The Coalition provided testimony to the respective Energy and Water Subcommittees this year calling for at least $6.8 billion for the Corps program and under ideal conditions $10 billion including an additional $200 million for the Bureau of Reclamation program.

"If Congress and the Administration defer action on this critical spending bill until next year, we run the risk of more devastating losses from natural disasters," said David A. Raymond, President and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies. "Now that House and Senate appropriators have done a good job funding flood control and other critical programs, Congress needs to finish the job and send this legislation to the White House."

The Water Resources Coalition (WRC) is a coalition of organizations representing state and local governments, irrigation and water districts, conservation, engineering and construction, ports, waterways, and transportation services.

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