The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate made significant progress on multiple pieces of water infrastructure legislation last week. The bills contain several of the recreational boating industry’s top priorities, which NMMA worked on with members of Congress to secure.
Both chambers overwhelmingly approved a $147 billion package that funds important projects within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and includes language on Everglades restoration and preventing the spread of Asian carp. The White House has indicated President Trump will sign the legislation. Key highlights from the bill:
FY19 Energy & Water Appropriations
- Provides $7 billion to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is an increase of $172 million.
- $3.2 billion is provided for navigation projects and studies, including $1.55 billion in funding from the Harbor
- Maintenance Trust Fund, which is an increase of $150 million, and full use of estimated annual revenues from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
- Includes important provisions regarding Everglades restoration and water discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
- Includes important provisions regarding Asian carp and efforts to protect the Great Lakes and other areas from intrusion.
Additionally, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. Key highlights from the bill:
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018
- New efforts to combat Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), including Asian carp and zebra mussels.
- New focus on detection, prevention, and management of harmful algae blooms.
- Authorization of the Everglades Agricultural Area project to better protect the Florida everglades and water quality in central and south Florida.
- Additional considerations of recreational boating and economic impacts in certain projects.
- Authorization of the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study, which will be a first of a kind effort to create a coordinated strategy to manage and protect the Great Lakes coastline.
- Reforms and streamlines U.S. Army Corps of Engineers processes for projects.
The America’s Water Infrastructure Act now heads to the Senate, and NMMA will continue to push for swift action. NMMA also looks forward to working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other stakeholders in the implementation of these pieces of legislation.
For more information, please contact NMMA’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Legal Affairs, Nicole Vasilaros at firstname.lastname@example.org or NMMA’s Director of Federal Government Affairs, Mike Pasko at email@example.com.