Durbin: Next WRDA Bill Should Include Streamlined Levee Approval Process

In letter to committee, Durbin lists priorities that also including Great Lakes protection, lock and dam restoration and harbor maintenance

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today asked the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which just began work on a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill, to include legislative language to streamline the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 408 approval process for communities making improvements to flood control infrastructure.  According to Durbin, this change will recognize that communities willing to raise the funds to make repairs should be able to obtain necessary permits in a timely manner. 


“Communities in the Metro East Illinois region have been working to improve their levee system since it was decertified by FEMA in 2007,” Durbin wrote.  “Local residents raised money to make repairs to the system and are working with engineers on ways to fortify the levees, but local leaders have faced hurdles from the Army Corps of Engineers, specifically with regard to obtaining a Section 408 permit for the project.  I encourage you to include legislation to allow the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to streamline the process for communities making improvements to flood control infrastructure.”


Additionally, Durbin expressed support for efforts to combat invasive species, including Asian carp, to expedite construction and operation of critical lock and dam projects along the Upper Mississippi River and increase funding for the operation and maintenance of harbors and ports.


“Illinois is home to some of the largest waterway systems in the country and the infrastructure surrounding them is in dire need of investment,” Durbin wrote.  “The next WRDA bill can help make a significant dent in our infrastructure deficit if we increase investments in waterways and watershed management.  Our economic competitiveness depends on having a modern waterway transportation network and the infrastructure necessary to protect against flooding.   Our future also depends on improving our watersheds and making sure we maintain the health of our environment for generations to come.”


Text of letter is attached.