WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee and a member of the Conference Committee for the Water Resources Development Act, praised the bipartisan conference report for its attention to maintaining and creating quality jobs, protecting the environment and promoting public health.
“Clean water means good jobs and better health for Marylanders. The Conference Report on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is a win for Maryland with investments in the health of the Chesapeake Bay and strong support for the Port of Baltimore. For 40 years, we have had a network of strong environmental laws to protect American rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes and coastal waterways from toxic pollution. I am proud that through WRDA, we were able to work in a bipartisan manner to keep these public health and environmental provisions in place, protecting the American people by keeping our waters safe to swim, fish, and especially drink. I am especially pleased that we are reauthorizing the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which sets formula funding for all states wastewater infrastructure and has not been reauthorized for more than 25 years.
“The high quality jobs associated with maintaining and building our waterways infrastructure makes reauthorizing WRDA incredibly important to strengthening and growing the middle class in the U.S. The investments this legislation makes to improve the safety and performance of the nation’s locks, levees and dams and ports, channels and harbors is essential to our country’s continued economic growth. Maryland, like many coastal states, has much at stake in this bill. The Port of Baltimore is ranked ninth among all U.S. commercial ports, in terms of total value of goods moved through the port. It directly employs more than 1,000 workers while supporting thousands more jobs across Maryland and the entire mid-Atlantic region. These jobs and the movement of the valuable cargo coming in and out of the port would not be realized if it weren’t for the Army Corps’ work to maintain the Baltimore Harbor Channel.
The final WRDA Conference Report includes other provisions that directly support Maryland, including:
- Authorization of Poplar Island and Poplar Island Expansion. This project is critical to the dredging activities of the Chesapeake and Baltimore Channels and Poplar Island is also an important wildlife habitat restoration project.
- Authorization of the Mid-Bay Islands Project. Critical provisions to assure that the Baltimore Channel will be maintained at its constructed width and depth.
- Reauthorization of the Army Corps of Engineer’ Chesapeake Bay Environmental Restoration and Protection Program. Expands the program to all of the Chesapeake Basin states and will require the development of comprehensive plan to ensure that the most effective projects are selected and implemented in the parts of the watershed while they provide the most environmental benefit.