Bipartisan Effort to Enforce Reforms They Enacted in Wake of Hurricane Katrina
Nov 17 2009
Washington, D.C. – Two years after enacting critical reforms of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ) are asking the Administration why little progress has been made to implement them. Those reforms, passed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, made key changes to strengthen the Corps and ensure that it uses its limited resources wisely. One of those reforms was a requirement that the Corps’ planning guidelines, Planning Principles & Guidelines (P&G), be modernized. In a letter sent today to Chairwoman Nancy Sutley of the Council on Environmental Quality, Feingold and McCain called on the Administration to fully modernize the Corps' P&G, which guide how the Corps develops water resources projects. Joining Feingold and McCain in the effort are Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
Feingold and McCain also sent another letter today to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy expressing their concern that almost two years after the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 became law, little progress has been made to implement programmatic reforms such as independent review, safety assurance review, and fish and wildlife mitigation reforms to the Corps’ planning practices. Congress enacted these reforms to ensure environmental protection and better use of taxpayer dollars. The senators are calling for the Administration to report to them by December 14, 2009 on the Corps’ progress in implementing these key reforms. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Thomas Carper (D-DE), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) are also joining Feingold and McCain in this effort.
“We made significant progress in 2007 to reform the Corps of Engineers, which faced public skepticism both before and after Hurricane Katrina,” Feingold said. “But I am disappointed in the lack of real progress that has been made to implement these critical reforms of the Corps. Too many Corps projects have been plagued by safety and environmental concerns, and by accusations of wasteful spending. I look forward to hearing from the Administration on it plans to move the Corps in the right direction.”
“Senator Feingold and I will be watching closely to see if the Administration takes the necessary steps to effectively modernize Army Corps Planning Principles and Guidelines,” said Senator John McCain. “We owe it to the American taxpayer to ensure that their hard earned tax dollars are being spent wisely by the Corps. Literally, lives depend on it.”
**Attached: Feingold and McCain’s letter to the Council on Environmental Quality
** Attached: Feingold and McCain’s letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil works