Issue 250

August 31, 2006

 

 

Making Section 214 permanent ... efforts continue

Columbia River Channel Improvement Project clears another legal challenge

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commander issues �12 Actions for Change�

U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commander retires

NEWS FLASH! Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and Rep. Brian Baird to speak at PNWA 2006 Annual Meeting



Making Section 214 permanent ... efforts continue


As reported in previous Nor�westers, PNWA has been working for some time on extensions for Section 214 of WRDA 2000, and to eventually make it permanent. Section 214 allows ports and other public agencies to fund Corps of Engineers regulatory positions for the review of permit applications. Given the tremendous backlog in permit applications in the Northwest, and the low funding levels for the Corps regulatory program, this has been a very important tool for PNWA members. This past year, we worked with Rep. Brian Baird to successfully pass two bills that extended Section 214 authority, most recently to December 31, 2006. Our long term goal has been to make Section 214 permanent. To read why permanence for Section 214 matters, visit www.pnwa.net and click on �Action Agenda�.

Now that WRDA 2006 has passed the Senate, efforts are underway to conference the bill with the previously passed House bill, and resolve the differences between the two pieces of legislation. The Senate version of WRDA contains language that would make Section 214 permanent, and PNWA has been working to educate House and Senate committee leadership about the importance of retaining that provision in conference. PNWA has joined with Rep. Baird�s office to gather the signatures of sixteen House members from the west coast on a letter to committee leaders that expresses support for the Senate provision (see the letter on our website). We are also working with Senator Murray�s office on a similar letter to be signed by west coast Senators.

We also recently led a meeting with PNWA members to brief staffers from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as these staffers research and write a report on the use of the Section 214 authority. This report could influence the eventual language that is accepted in the final version of the WRDA bill, and PNWA was keen to have the experiences of Northwest stakeholders documented in the GAO report. PNWA staff as asked that this report be expedited, so that preliminary findings might be available in time to be used in the WRDA conference that is currently ongoing.

For more information about Section 214, please visit www.pnwa.net, or contact a member of PNWA�s staff.

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Columbia River Channel Improvement Project clears another legal challenge


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Corps had indeed taken a �hard look� at the environmental and economic factors of the channel improvement project. �Based on the Corps� extensive examination of the project�s cumulative, direct and economic impacts, we agree with the district court that the Corps has taken the required hard look,� read the opinion.

Fifteen years of evaluation has found the project to be in the national interest, providing cost savings to manufacturers and farmers, and ecosystem restoration for fish and wildlife habitat. This project is essential to maintaining existing economic development and creating new opportunities in the greater Pacific Northwest.

The 103-mile project will deepen the channel from 40ft to 43ft, allowing larger ships to call on ports in the Lower Columbia River export gateway. The deepening of the channel began last year, and work continues this summer. For more information regarding the channel improvement project, please visit www.pnwa.net.

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commander issues �12 Actions for Change�


Lieutenant General Carl A. Strock issued and released �12 Actions for Change�, a set of actions that the Corps will focus on to transform its priorities, processes and planning.
"Exhaustive analysis by the Corps and other investigative teams into the performance of the Greater New Orleans Hurricane Protection System during hurricanes Katrina and Rita pointed to the need to transform the way the Corps serves the nation and its Armed Forces across all our mission areas,� noted Gen. Strock.
"These 12 actions were developed from that analysis and from other internal and external examinations of the Corps in the recent past. We will use the 12 Actions to guide our ongoing and future work, and to ensure we have an organization that is adaptable, flexible and responsive to the needs of the nation," said Strock.
The "12 Actions for Change" fall within three overarching themes:
� effectively implement a comprehensive systems approach
� communication
� reliable public service professionalism

PNWA will feature several Corps commanders from Northwest districts during our 2006 Annual Meeting at the Tacoma Sheraton. This will provide an excellent opportunity to hear from Corps leadership about these new directives, and what they might mean for how the Corps conducts daily activities that affect Northwest stakeholders. Click here to see the 12 Actions for Change.

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U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commander retires


Lieutenant General Carl A. Strock announced his retirement after 34 years of service to the United States of America.

PNWA�s staff and membership are honored to have first worked with LTG Strock during his tenure as Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division. During his time at the Division, the Chief�s report for the Columbia River channel deepening project was completed, the Yaquina Bay north jetty was repaired, and the juvenile fish bypass project was completed at the second powerhouse at Bonneville Dam.

More recently, LTG Strock led the Corps worldwide, including oversight of the Hurricane Katrina recovery, rebuilding of the levees in New Orleans, and development of a provisional division with four districts to oversee operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the Northwest, General Strock�s leadership has been visible in the ongoing Columbia River channel deepening, the repair of the Columbia River jetties, and the successful dredging of the Snake River earlier this year.

PNWA�s staff and membership have greatly enjoyed working with LTG Strock throughout the years, and wish him a long and happy retirement. Visit www.pnwa.net for a complete bio of LTG Strock.

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NEWS FLASH! Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and Rep. Brian Baird to speak at PNWA 2006 Annual Meeting


PNWA is delighted to announce that both Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and U.S. Rep. Brian Baird will be keynote speakers at our 2006 Annual Meeting! We are also pleased to announce that we will be joined by the newly installed District Commanders from the Army Corps of Engineers Seattle and Walla Walla Districts. This conference is a terrific time to hear from top-notch speakers like Gov. Gregoire and Rep. Baird, and to discuss stakeholder issues with new Corps leaders from the Pacific Northwest.

Join us on October 11th � 13th at the Sheraton Tacoma! Register now at www.pnwa.net.

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