Sen. Carper Statement on the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act for the Nation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del), who will serve as ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in the 115th Congress, released the following statement today on the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The Senate passed WIIN by a vote of 78 to 21.

“We owe Americans a commitment in Congress to make strong and sustainable investments in our nation’s infrastructure in ways that will protect our natural resources and water systems, enhance public safety and boost our economy. Although it is not the legislation I would have written, this bill contains many important environmental priorities, including badly needed funding to upgrade drinking and wastewater infrastructure in cities like Flint, Michigan.

“In Delaware, our coastal communities are increasingly vulnerable to sea level rise and extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy and last year’s historic nor’easter. This bill will enhance 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.

“I’m thrilled that the final legislation includes my bill with Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney to create a restoration program for the Delaware River Basin, a national treasure and major economic engine for our region. The Basin is an ecological powerhouse that provides drinking water for more than 15 million people and contributes billions of dollars to Delaware’s economy each year. This new restoration program is a win for our region and will require federal, state and local partners to work together and do their part to preserve the Basin for generations to come.”

Some of the top priorities included in this legislation:

Funding for Flint, Michigan: The bill provides funding to equip communities with programs and activities to reduce concentrations of lead in drinking water, including the replacement of lead service lines.

Delaware River Basin restoration program: The legislation includes a bill spearheaded by Sen. Carper in the Senate and Rep. Carney in the House called the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, which establishes a restoration program for the Delaware River Basin within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Regional Sediment Management: The legislation modifies an existing program for sediment management to allow expanded uses and increase flexibility in using sediment for shoreline protection and coastal restoration, including the reuse of dredged sediment to build dunes and re-nourish beaches.

Coordination on Coastal Resilience: The legislation creates an interagency working group on resilience to extreme weather, which will coordinate research, data, and federal investments related to sea level rise, resiliency, and vulnerability to extreme weather, including coastal resilience. The group will study and issues recommendations on how to address the impacts on federal assets of recurrent flooding and sea level rise.