Senate to Consider Important Water Infrastructure Legislation
‘This morning, the Environment and Public Works Committee is concluding their work on America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. Chairman Barrasso has led an open, bipartisan process that’s generated a strong proposal. It builds on President Trump’s infrastructure approach, encouraging local control over local priorities and leveraging federal resources to ensure that each dollar spent goes to major water infrastructure improvements.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018:
“This morning, the Environment and Public Works Committee is concluding their work on America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. Chairman Barrasso has led an open, bipartisan process that’s generated a strong proposal.
“It builds on President Trump’s infrastructure approach, encouraging local control over local priorities and leveraging federal resources to ensure that each dollar spent goes to major water infrastructure improvements. It cuts red tape and empowers the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to break through bureaucratic backlogs. And thanks to Senator Boozman, it enhances the effectiveness of federal investments in our nation’s failing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
“My state of Kentucky contains more than 1,900 miles of navigable inland waterways. Our water resources support more than 13,000 jobs in the maritime industry. Paducah, Kentucky serves as the heart of America’s inland waterways system, and Western Kentucky is also home to major civil works projects like Olmsted Locks and Dam and Kentucky Lock.
“So this bipartisan legislation is good news for communities throughout the Commonwealth. One provision, the Freedom to Fish Act, will help safeguard an important part of Kentucky’s cultural heritage. Generations of Kentuckians have fished the Cumberland River and the tailwaters of the Barkley and Wolf Creek Dams.
“I remember my dad and his friend taking me to fish there at a young age. They were experienced fishermen. The last thing they needed was advice from federal bureaucrats on where to cast their lines. But in 2012, in a typical display of Obama administration overreach, the Army Corps threatened to restrict access to these cherished waters. I didn’t know anyone in Kentucky who thought it was a good idea. The farmers didn’t. The anglers didn’t. The area businesses relying on fishing tourism didn’t. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife certainly didn’t.
“So I worked with community leaders like my friend Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White and my colleagues in the Kentucky and Tennessee Congressional delegations to put a stop to this government interference. We introduced legislation to prevent the Army Corps from robbing our fishers and anglers of this beloved pastime and damaging this key component of the local economy.
“The measure passed with overwhelming support and was signed into law. It’s been successful. But its provisions are set to expire soon. That’s why I worked with Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper, and the committee to secure a new five-year extension of the Freedom to Fish Act in this year’s water infrastructure bill. It’s just another achievement among the many victories this bill will deliver for communities across the country.
“I’m grateful to the supporters of this legislation -- such as the National League of Cities and the National Rural Water Association – and the bipartisan coalition of Senators that’s worked to craft it. I look forward to the committee’s vote today, and to supporting this bill once it reaches the Senate floor.”
Related Issues: Infrastructure, EPA