Nicole T. Carter
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
Specialist in Transportation Policy
Analyst in Environmental Policy
Charles V. Stern
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
H.R. 3080, Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA 2013) as passed by the House, and S. 601, Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (WRDA 2013) as passed by the Senate, are both omnibus authorization legislation focused primarily on water resources development activities and practices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The two bills address many similar issues, but often propose different approaches.
Authorizing and Deauthorizing Projects. H.R. 3080 would authorize a fixed set of 23 Corps projects (total cost of $13.0 billion) and 2 cost modifications to previously authorized projects. S. 601 would authorize projects or modifications with a completed Chief Report transmitted to Congress before enactment if carried out according to their reports and plan; 22 projects (total cost of $12.4 billion) have had their Chief’s Reports transmitted to Congress as of October 2013; another 7 projects (total cost of $12.8 billion) are awaiting transmission of completed Chief’s Reports. For future authorizations, H.R. 3080 would have the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)(ASA) submit an annual “Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development” with qualifying studies proposed by nonfederal interests, completed feasibility reports, and modifications to projects for congressional consideration. For three years after enactment, S. 601 would allow the ASA to initiate new studies and proceed with project cost modifications if an appropriations or other act provides amounts to the study or project. H.R. 3080 would deauthorize $12 billion of pre-WRDA 2007 projects within 270 days of enactment; S. 601 would establish a commission to identify, within four years, projects to deauthorize.
Accelerating Studies and Environmental Streamlining. Both bills propose provisions to encourage completion of Corps studies within three years and intended to streamline compliance with applicable environmental laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Expanding Nonfederal Roles in Project Delivery and Financing. Both bills would encourage the expansion of nonfederal opportunities in delivering water resources projects through changes to the provisions for in-kind crediting for nonfederal work and expanding authorities for nonfederal contributions and nonfederal project management and financing. S. 601 also proposes encouraging nonfederal partnerships, including private investment, by authorizing a program for loans and loan guarantees for certain flood control and public water supply projects.
Investing in Navigation. Both bills attempt to increase spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), but differ in the priorities and use of HMTF funds. Both bills would authorize changes to the inland waterway project delivery and alter cost-sharing for Olmsted Locks and Dam; neither bill would enact changes to inland waterway revenues.
Reducing Flood Risks. S. 601 would authorize a new national levee safety program to assist in the development of state levee safety programs and expand the role of the Corps in levee rehabilitation and levee certification. H.R. 3080 would make more limited amendments to flood risk management authorities.
Addressing Other Issues. H.R. 3080 would prohibit programs or actions authorized by H.R. 3080 to be used for furthering implementation of Executive Order 13547 related to coastal and marine spatial planning. S. 601 would create a National Endowment for the Oceans. S. 601 would amend the applicability and scope of the oil spill prevention, control, and countermeasure rules related to oil storage.
Date of Report: November 6, 2013
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: R43298
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