U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin
Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD), today denounced President Bush’s veto of the
Water Resources Development Act
(WRDA) as a failure to provide for important national programs that would protect our nation against devastating floods and restore important natural habitat that could offer protection from future hurricanes.
“This measure has overwhelming Congressional support,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“Considering the large vote for passage of WRDA, I am hopeful this veto will be overridden.
Unfortunately, the President’s veto demonstrates that he has not learned the lessons of Katrina and that we must maintain important infrastructure that will protect our citizens from future catastrophic events.”
“Congress fought for this bill to provide a significant federal investment in flood protection and the safety of our nation's waterways, and now President Bush has vetoed it. This bill stands up for the lives and livelihoods that depend on the waterways of Maryland and the nation. It funds projects to ensure that freight carriers and cruise ships can safely navigate Baltimore's channels so the Port can continue to serve as an important economic engine for the state,” said Senator Mikulski. “We must not let President Bush derail this critical funding for the nation’s waterways, safety and economy.”
Senator Cardin added that the WRDA bill contains important projects for Maryland and “would guarantee a new federal commitment to improving the Chesapeake Bay.”
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 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;
$9.4 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.