ICYMI: Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Deliver Major Water Resources Wins for the First State
U.S. Senators Tom Carper, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester(all D-Del.), celebrated the enactment of the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA 2022) following the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act by President Biden today.
In addition to authorizing much-needed investments in projects and programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in Delaware and across the country, WRDA 2022 includes major provisions from the Shoreline Health Oversight, Restoration, Resilience, and Enhancement (SHORRE) Act, which Senator Carper and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester introduced earlier this year.
“As the lowest-lying state in our nation, Delaware’s economic well-being is directly linked to the maintenance of our ports and waterways and protection of our coastal communities,” said Senator Carper, who co-authored the legislation with Senator Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the EPW Committee. “Fortunately, this year’s Water Resources Development Act includes historic advancements for water infrastructure in the First State. This bipartisan legislation will help vulnerable communities in Delaware better protect themselves from the impacts of climate change, support critical ecosystem restoration, and address flood mitigation and resilience measures, all while keeping our economy moving forward. WRDA 2022 is a major accomplishment, and I’m grateful to Senator Coons, Congresswoman Blunt Rochester, and our colleagues in Congress for working together to get this bipartisan legislation across the finish line.”
“Delaware’s coastline and waterways are a source of pride and prosperity for the First State, but as the nation’s lowest-lying state, we face increasing threats from climate change and severe weather events,” said Senator Coons. “Thankfully, the investments in WRDA 2022 protect Delaware’s water infrastructure while prioritizing economically disadvantaged communities and strengthening our state’s resilience. I applaud Chairman Carper and my colleagues in the House and Senate for passing this important legislation.”
“There are few bills that I can think of that we consider in Congress with a more direct and consequential impact than the Water Resources Development Act. From making our shorelines more resilient in the face of the climate crisis, our communities less susceptible to flooding and erosion, and our economy more competitive by investing in our ports – a strong WRDA helps create a strong Delaware,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “I’m particularly proud to have worked with Chairman Carper to secure key provisions from the SHORRE Act, which we co-authored, in this year’s WRDA. Those provisions will ensure we are taking a comprehensive and strategic approach in addressing rising sea levels, extreme weather, flooding, and erosion. Working with Senators Carper and Coons, I’m proud to say we’ve, once again, delivered for Delaware.”
HOW WRDA 2022 WILL BENEFIT DELAWARE:
Protects Delaware’s beaches and shorelines from the threat of climate change by:
- Updating the Corps’ emergency authorities to provide greater support to Delaware’s beaches following hurricanes, Nor’easters, and other damaging storms.
- Expanding existing programs to fast-track the development and construction of shoreline, riverbank, and streambank protection and restoration projects in Delaware.
- Making shoreline protection more affordable for the Bay Beaches.
Improves water resource academic research in Delaware by:
- Authorizing the Corps to enter into contracts, cooperative agreements, grants, and other transactions with the University of Delaware to conduct academic research on areas including water resource ecology, water quality, aquatic ecosystem restoration, coastal restoration research, and water resource-related emergency management.
Invests in municipal environmental infrastructure programs in Delaware by:
- Authorizing individual environmental infrastructure programs supporting drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure for Kent County, Sussex County, and New Castle County at $35 million each.
Prioritizes equity in the Corps’ Civil Works Program by:
- Lowering project costs for shoreline, riverbank, and streambank protection and restoration in economically disadvantaged communities.
- Establishing a new Tribal and Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Committee to help the Corps more effectively deliver projects, programs, and other assistance to Tribes and economically disadvantaged communities.
- Creating a new Corps workforce development and STEM outreach program with priority given to economically disadvantaged communities.
- Authorizing the Corps to waive the cost of technical assistance for economically disadvantaged communities.
Click here for more in-depth background information on how WRDA 2022 is delivering for Delaware.