Senator Carper Welcomes Delawareans to Testify on Bipartisan Legislation that Invests in the First State’s Water Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, welcomed Jeff Bullock, Delaware’s Secretary of State, and Tony Pratt, president of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, to a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee to discuss bipartisan legislation that makes investments to update aging water infrastructure in Delaware and across the country. The hearing examined the bipartisan America’s Water Infrastructure Act, introduced yesterday by Senator Carper, along with Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), which makes smart investments in water infrastructure – from waterways and ports to drinking water systems and natural infrastructure like the dune systems that protect Delaware’s beach communities. The bipartisan legislation also provides reauthorization for the Army Corps of Engineers to continue their work maintaining and overseeing thousands of miles of waterways, levees and shorelines, and thousands of ports and dams across the country.

“As a coastal state – and the lowest lying state in the country – Delaware’s economy and communities rely on water infrastructure more than most,” said Senator Carper. “From the Port of Wilmington and the waterways in and out of Delaware, to our dune systems that insulate our beach communities, Delaware relies on smart, proactive investments in our water infrastructure. By working together, across party lines, this bill makes smart budgeting decisions that will help every state and every community get more out of their water infrastructure investments and help address their top priorities. For Delaware, we secured a number of our top priorities, including wins that will allow our port in Wilmington to grow and keep pace with the demands of our 21st century economy.”

“The Corps of Engineers is critical to our region supporting ports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Baltimore in addition to Delaware. These ports are economic drivers for our regions and ensuring these ports are modernized and well maintained are critical to our ability to deliver the goods that our region and the nation need, as well as helping U.S. companies export to world markets,” said Secretary Bullock. “Currently, we are in the process of a planned expansion at the Port of Wilmington to provide more storage capacity for existing and future commercial businesses, which is why the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 is such an important piece of legislation for Delaware, but I would expand that by saying it is important for the nation as a whole.”

“As discussions continue this year on how to best address the nation’s infrastructure needs, the benefits to the nation of maintaining natural infrastructure, particularly on the coast, are vital to include. Well managed and maintained beaches, dunes and wetlands are the first line of defense against storm waves and tidal surge,” said Mr. Pratt. “By the fact that the EPW Committee remains committed to a biennial Water Resources Development Act the Corps’ Civil Works budget remains on a forward looking tack and each subsequent WRDA provides opportunity to continue to build improvements and modernization of the Corps’ Civil Works mission.”

The full testimony of Secretary Bullock can be found here, and a full bio can be found below.

The full testimony of Mr. Pratt can be found here, and a full bio can be found below.

Jeff Bullock

Secretary Bullock is the Delaware Secretary of State. In this role, he also serves as the Chairman of the Diamond State Port Corporation overseeing the Port of Wilmington, Delaware.

Previously, Secretary Bullock served as Chief Administrative Officer for New Castle County, Delaware. He also was Chief of Staff for then-Congressman Tom Carper from 1994 to 2001, and a principal at the consulting firm, Public Works, LLC. Secretary Bullock has served on numerous boards, including the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council.

Secretary Bullock holds a degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Delaware.

Tony Pratt

Mr. Pratt is the President of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association. He also serves on the Advisory Board to the Department of Homeland Security Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence based at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Previously, Mr. Pratt was a member of the National Research Council Committee on Beach Nourishment and Protection and the Heinz Center Panel on Risk Vulnerability and the True Costs of Coastal Hazards. He was the former Deputy Mayor of Lewes, Delaware, and worked for the Shoreline and Waterway Management section of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control for the last 37 years.