Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Rooney: House Passes Bill Critical for Florida’s Waterways

Jun 6, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –  Today the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 by a vote of 408-2. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is a critical infrastructure bill supporting economic growth and authorizing vital improvements to our nation’s ailing dams, ports and inland waterways. Additionally, WRDA 2018 supports several key components and projects of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) which are integral to Everglades restoration, including language directing the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite acceptance of modifications to the previously authorized Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project.

“The Water Resources Development Act authorizes water resources projects critical to life and the economy of districts like mine and passing bills like this should be a regular occurrence in Congress,” Rooney said. “This bill also recognizes the struggles our communities in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico have faced from last year’s hurricane season. Flooding was catastrophic and damage was widespread. This year’s WRDA will help mitigate the effects of future disasters by directing the Secretary of the Army to complete water projects in these areas as quickly as possible.”

The legislation also includes Rooney-requested language directing the Secretary of the Army to review and update the regulations guiding implementation CERP and its associated projects. CERP regulations guide the Army Corps, the South Florida Water Management District and numerous other federal and nonfederal partners as they work to restore the Everglades. These regulations – which are intended to be updated as needed or no less-often than every five years – have not been updated in almost 10 years.

The 2018 WRDA also:

  • Directs the Army Corps to expedite the completion of the Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule to coincide with the completion of repair and rehabilitation to the Herbert Hoover Dike, potentially allowing the Corps to temporarily store more water during wetter years.
  • Implements a five-year technology demonstration project supporting research into projects that help detect, prevent, reduce, and mitigate the occurrence of harmful algal blooms.
  • Clarifies the Corps ability to provide credit for Comprehensive Everglades Restoration in-kind work completed during design or construction, if the Secretary of the Army and non-federal sponsor agree to terms and conditions and the Secretary determines that work is integral to project.