FRANKFORT, Ky. (9/12/13) – U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, today announced significant progress in reaching a permanent solution to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) from permanently restricting access to the tailwaters near Cumberland River Dams. At the request of Whitfield and other interested colleagues (letter attached), language was included as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA). WRRDA was released from the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee earlier this afternoon.
“While I am pleased we were able to enact a two year delay on the Corps’ plan to restrict access to fishing, I am now focused on enacting a permanent solution to stop the Corps’ overreach,” stated Whitfield. “This legislation is the result of the Corps’ failure to listen to the people of Kentucky on an issue that impacts our livelihoods, way of life and local economy of western Kentucky.”
Whitfield ushered a two year moratorium on the installation of the Corps’ barricades back in June. His next step is passing a permanent ban on the Corps barricades, which will be accomplished through the language that Whitfield requested to be part of WRRDA. Senators McConnell, Paul, and Alexander have been instrumental in moving the necessary language through the Senate.
The next step for WRRDA is passage by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. After the legislation is voted favorably out of Committee, it will be considered by the entire House of Representatives. It will then go to a Conference Committee with the Senate to work out the various differences between the two bills. Assuming a conference agreement is reached, the President will then sign it into law.
“Today signifies just another hurdle cleared in our effort to protect one of our favorite pastimes, and I will continue working until this legislation is signed into law,” concluded Whitfield.
There are other notable inclusions in WRRDA at the request of Whitfield, including:
• Key pieces of Whitfield’s bipartisan Waterways are Vital for the Economy, Energy, Efficiency, and Environment Act (WAVE 4) that would ensure that America’s inland waterway system can meet the current and future demands of the 21st century economy;
• Funding mechanism for inland waterways, small ports and harbors dredging and maintenance; and
• Increase in authorization for the Paducah Flood Wall project.
Information provided by Chris Pack
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