Apr 29 2016
This winter, Delaware and our neighbors in the Northeast were struck by a historic nor’easter — one of the strongest winter storms we’ve experienced in decades. Across the state, and especially in our coastal communities, we prepared for the worst when we realized the tides and winds wouldn’t be in our favor and could result in significant damage. Fortunately, our preparations in the days, months and years leading up to that storm - like the great work building our sand dunes to prevent severe coastal flooding - meant that our communities were ready.
Delaware is blessed to be situated between the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware River and Bay, and rich with inland bays, rivers and tidal marshes. These bodies of water support the First State in countless ways, providing leisure activities and facilitating commerce. But that also means that severe weather events and storms like this winter’s nor’easter can pose a threat to the quality of life and livelihoods of those of us who call Delaware home. That’s why one of my top priorities in the Senate is ensuring that Delaware has the resources it needs to prepare for extreme weather, protect our communities and preserve our world-class beaches.
The Army Corps of Engineers is a valued partner in managing our state’s waters and beaches through navigation, flood control and environmental restoration projects – and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is the primary legislation that authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ key civil works activities.
This week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee came together and approved a WRDA bill 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.
As one of the top Democrats on the Environment and Public Works Committee, I am proud of the committee's broad bipartisan support for advancing the WRDA bill to the Senate floor for consideration by the full Senate. The legislation we approved this week contains a number of critical provisions for Delaware, including protections for our beaches to mitigate against damage from severe weather events. The bill also includes provisions to expand our state’s ability to reuse dredged material to build up our beaches’ resilience and restore vital ecosystems. These programs are critical to Delaware’s ongoing beach replenishment and protection efforts.
I’ve long believed an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s what we’re doing with this bill. In the First State, we know that extreme weather and other natural events out of our control can wreak havoc on our water systems and coastal areas. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that we continue to invest in our infrastructure so that we ensure we’re prepared for future storms - WRDA helps us to do that. I’ll continue to work every day to ensure this bill continues to make its way through Congress and on to President Obama for his signature.