November 08, 2007

CARDIN, MIKULSKI PRAISE SENATE OVERRIDE OF PRESIDENTIAL VETO OF WATER BILL

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD), today praised the Senate for overriding the President's veto of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) by a vote of  79 to 14.   The House overrode the veto earlier this week.   With the Senate action, the bill is now law.

 

"By a strong bipartisan majority, this Congress has stood up to the President and said we need to reinvest in America," said Senator Cardin.   "This bill will help protect our nation against devastating floods, authorize new pollution control programs, and restore important natural habitat."

 

"President Bush's veto threatened critical funding for the nation's waterways, safety and economy.  I am proud to stand with Senator Cardin and our colleagues to overturn his misguided decision," said Senator Mikulski.  "This bill provides a significant federal investment in flood protection and stands up for the lives and livelihoods that depend on the waterways of Maryland and the nation. In the next step of the process, I will fight as a member of the Appropriations Committee for money in the federal checkbook to make these priorities a reality."

 

The measure includes approximately $300 million for Maryland projects, including:

 

  • $30 million to significantly reduce nitrogen flowing from the Blue Plains sewage treatment plant into the Bay.   Blue Plains is the largest advanced sewage treatment facility in the world, servicing the entire Washington metropolitan area, including Prince George's and Montgomery counties.   The bill also provides $40 million for other pollution reduction projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;
  • $192 million for expansion of the Bay's Poplar Island project, which involves rebuilding the Island with dredged material from the channels serving the Port of Baltimore; 
  • $10 million for restoration of Smith Island by constructing two miles of off-shore breakwaters that will protect more than 2,100 acres of wetlands and underwater grasses;
  • More than a $6 million increase in funding for the Cumberland flood control and restoration of the C&O Canal;
  • A $30 million increase in funding for the Army Corps of Engineers' oyster restoration effort; and, 
  • $20 million of additional funding for the Chesapeake Bay Environmental and Protection Programs.

The measure also includes increased oversight for the Army Corps of Engineers, including peer review, transparency, and a requirement that every construction project be subject to a cost-benefits test.