Resources & Development Act (WRDA) may finally be showing signs of life
in the Senate, after being stalled for over one year. We are pleased to
report that the Democratic and Republican cloakrooms have recently �hotlined�
a new version of the Senate WRDA bill (S.728). �Hotlining� a bill allows the
leadership of both parties to determine if there are any holds on the bill,
whether any members would like to offer amendments. Once these items are
known, the leadership can cobble together an agreement on the number of
amendments, how much debate will be allowed, etc. We are also pleased to
report that a number of PNWA member projects and issues have been updated in
the new version of the bill, to reflect language preferred by PNWA.
The House passed their WRDA bill (H.R.2864) by a vote of 406 � 14 on July 14,
2005. The Senate version of WRDA (S.728) was reported out of the Senate
Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee on April 13, 2005. It has
since been stalled, and has not been scheduled for floor debate or a full
Senate vote. Corps reform and controversy over a few large projects have
heretofore prevented WRDA from reaching the floor of the Senate for the past
year. And recently, $2 billion in Louisiana water projects have been proposed
for authorization and funding as part of the supplemental appropriations bill
for Iraq and Katrina. By moving these projects forward through the
supplemental, rather than WRDA, some of the momentum could be lost for WRDA.
The last WRDA bill was passed in 2000. Typically, it is biennial legislation,
and it is now approaching four years overdue. PNWA strongly supports the
passage of a WRDA this year, and has joined with other navigation and
economic development groups nationwide to encourage the Senate leadership to schedule
this bill for floor time and a vote. PNWA was successful in securing the
signatures of all six Northwest Senators on a WRDA support letter signed by
80 Senators, which was delivered to Senate Majority Leader Frist in early
February. For a copy of the letter, visit www.pnwa.net.
PNWA urges Congress to bring the new Senate WRDA bill to the floor for a
vote. WRDA needs to pass this year.
For a full copy of all PNWA supported language in the two WRDA bills, visit www.pnwa.net.
Staff contact: Kristin Meira, 503-234-8556 or email
FY2007 Energy & Water Appropriations
The House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee marked up
their FY2007 appropriations bill (H.R.5427) on Thursday, May 11 th, and the
full House Appropriations Committee approved the bill on Wednesday, May 17
th. The House bill sets overall Corps funding at $5 billion, which is $251
million above the President�s request, but $345 million below last year�s
level when adjusted for funding in emergency supplemental spending bills. The
bill will now head to the House floor for a vote, after which it will be
forwarded to the Senate for the same process.
Perhaps the most important element in the house appropriations bill is the
funding of operations and maintenance (O&M) on a regional basis. Even
though the President�s budget reflected O&M regionally as well as for
individual projects, the House bill does not specify funding on a project
basis. PNWA is very concerned that the House has chosen to take a
regional/watershed approach in funding Corps O&M projects, for several reasons:
- Region 17 (Pacific Northwest) is an enormous
and unwieldy lumping of disparate projects, and is described as all
projects falling in �the drainage within the United States that
ultimately discharges into: (a) the Straits of Georgia and of Juan
DeFuca, and (b) the Pacific Ocean within the states of Oregon and
Washington; and that part of the Great Basin whose discharge is into the
state of Oregon. Includes all of Washington and parts of California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.�
- The House�s regional approach could result in
serious delays for Corps funded projects. The House bill requires the
Corps is to inform the House and Senate, within 30 days of enactment,
how they plan to allocate regional pots of money among all of the projects
within each region. This plan would then have to be approved by the
House and Senate Appropriations Committees. This essentially duplicates
the long-standing budgeting processes already in place, wherein the
Corps submits their budget to OMB and the White House, who then send a
budget to the Congress. The Corps budget submitted to Congress by the
White House for FY2007 reflected funding three different ways: by
business line, by region, and by project. Another layer of review and
consultation between the Corps and Congress, after the appropriations
bill is already signed into law, will undoubtedly result in serious
delays to Corps projects. This is especially troubling, as the Energy
& Water appropriations bill is typically one of the last appropriations
bills to be signed into law each year, and sometimes is so late that it
is rolled into an omnibus funding bill after the new fiscal year has
- An eventual conference between the House and
Senate bills could prove to be difficult. Though the House has chosen to
reflect funding by region, it is thought that the Senate appropriations
subcommittee will provide funding on a project by project basis, as has
traditionally been the case.
supports the reflection of funding by project, as this is the clearest way in
which Congress can indicate its wishes for Corps projects, and will not lead
to any further delays in carrying out Congress� directives once the final
appropriations bill is passed and signed into law.
Of the twenty-one regions around the country, Region 17 (Pacific Northwest)
is one of six regions that had funding reductions in the House bill, when
compared with the President�s budget. Region 17 received $9.5 million less
than was in the President�s budget ($242.593 million vs. $252.093 million).
Because this is a regional appropriation, it appears that it would be up to
the Corps to determine where to make specific project reductions. The
Committee did not indicate where it wanted the cuts to be applied. The only
specific funding directives included for our region are $85 million for
Columbia River Fish Mitigation, an additional $500K in funding for Coos Bay, and $2M for Benson Beach dredge material placement.
In the general investigations category, we are pleased to report that the
Lower Columbia River Ecosystem Restoration received $200K in the House bill,
as compared to the $100K in the President�s budget. Also, the Elliott Bay
Seawall project, which was zeroed out in the President�s budget, has received
$225K in the House bill.
The President�s budget was released on February 6th. When compared with
general funding levels for Northwest navigation projects in previous years,
the levels included in the budget this year showed an overall improvement.
However, shortfalls still remain. We will continue to keep you informed, now
that the field of play shifts to the Senate Appropriations committee.
For a full listing of PNWA�s supported energy & water appropriations
projects, please visit www.pnwa.net.
Staff contact: Kristin Meira, 503-234-8556 or email
Register for PNWA Mid-Year
Join us for our
Mid-Year Meeting at the Salishan Lodge & Conference Center on the Oregon Coast , June 21-23. Hotel room block has been extended until May 26th!
Our Luncheon Keynote Speaker will be Mike Carrier, Natural Resources Policy
Advistor from the State of Oregon. Mike will be speaking on "The State
of Oregon's Approach to Meeting Endangered Fish Needs on the Oregon Coast and
the Columbia/Snake River System"
There will also be several key U.S. Corps of Engineers speakers, Karen
Durham-Aguilera, Director, Programs and Carol Angier, Civil Work Deputy to
discuss project funding, endangered species and other regional issues.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to meet and greet key players that affect
the future of your region.
Register at www.pnwa.net.
US DOT/WS DOT Freight Financing Workshop
Department of Transportation�s Federal Highway Administration, Federal
Railroad Administration, and Maritime Administration are pleased to announce
a partnership with Washington State Department of Transportation�s Office of
Freight Strategy and Policy. The agencies are co-hosting a Freight Financing
Workshop in Seattle on June 20, 2006.
Where: Jackson Federal Office Building, 4th Floor North Auditorium,
When: Tuesday, June 20, 2006, from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
For more information regarding this workshop please contact Lyn McClelland
Maritime Administration Seattle Office 206-220-7717 or email Lyn Mcclelland