Carper Statement on Passage of Water Resources and Development Act

WRDA will provide vital protections for Delaware’s natural resources and water infrastructure, and authorize Delaware River Basin Conservation Act

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement on the Senate passage of the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA), legislation that authorizes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works activities, including flood control, navigation, and environmental restoration projects and studies. This bill also authorizes the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, which better protects one of the nation’s most important water systems. Senator Carper took to the floor yesterday afternoon to highlight the importance of passing this critical legislation. Video of his remarks is available above. 

“Today the Senate came together and passed legislation to enhance protections for our natural resources and water systems, and boost our infrastructure in ways that would improve public safety while also strengthening our local and national economies. In Delaware, we know that extreme weather and other natural events out of our control can wreak havoc on our waterways and coastal areas, causing harm to families and businesses alike. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that we continue to invest in infrastructure maintenance and prevention so we can recover faster when bad things happen.

“A huge win for our region included in this bill is the authorization of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, which creates the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Delaware River Basin.  The Delaware River Basin is an ecological and economic powerhouse for Delaware and our neighboring states. The basin is a vital watershed that contributes $25 billion to our region’s economy and fuels our local communities by supporting jobs in the maritime, agriculture, tourism, hunting, fishing and wildlife industries. Inclusion of this bill, would improve coordination among federal, state and local partners who work to protect and preserve the basin, and ensure that partners can work together to protect the health of this vital resource for generations to come. This is a win-win-win for the Delaware River Basin Watershed states of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

“This bill will also help Delaware’s coastal resilience by expanding our ability to reuse dredged material to build its dunes and coastlines, which are vital to protecting homes, businesses and infrastructure in our low-lying state. This helps communities save money on critical flood protections that are becoming increasingly important as we face more frequent extreme weather events. It also ensures federal and state coordination on the research and resiliency efforts combatting extreme weather and sea level rise.

“Also provided in this bill is funding for critical drinking water and waste water infrastructure that will help in places like Flint, Michigan, which last year became the posterchild for unsafe drinking water. While this is an important first step in addressing these critical infrastructure needs, we need to do much more, because there are thousands of towns and cities around the country with dire needs.

“I’ve long believed that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and nowhere is this truer than in this bill. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find solutions to help the communities around the nation struggling with funding shortfalls for critical infrastructure needs to address them before we face another emergency.”