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President Signs WRRDA Into Law

Tuesday, June 10, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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Today, President Obama signed H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Research and Development Act, into law. The WRRDA conference report was originally presented to the President for signature June 3. President Obama had 10 days to sign or veto the act, and on Tuesday, June 10 he officially signed WRRDA into law.

After months of negotiating, a House-Senate conference committee released the final WRRDA language last Tuesday, June 3. The bill passed the House of Representatives May 20 with a vote of 412 to 4 and the Senate May 22 with a vote of 91 to 7.

The sticking point in WRRDA negotiations was an amendment sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) and passed in the House that would block the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the National Ocean Policy by restricting funding for Corps projects connected to the policy. The policy promotes ocean and coastal planning, and the WRRDA conference report had dropped the Flores amendment.

In addition, WRRDA includes language sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to develop a new Corps program focused on ocean and coastal resiliency, where the Corps must work with state governments, non-profit organizations and other stakeholders to study the feasibility of projects aimed at enhancing ocean and coastal ecosystem resilience.

Passage of WRRDA is important to marine retailers and marina operators because it provides funding for important dredging projects, including harbor and channel dredging. For anglers and boaters, water access is one the most important challenges facing our industry today.