Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 11:14 am | Overcast with Haze 62º

 
 
 
 

Capps Votes for Infrastructure Bill, Voices Concern About Provisions Limiting Environmental Review

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, voted Wednesday in favor of House Resolution 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.

The bill would authorize Army Corps of Engineers funding for improvements to America’s ports, waterways and projects tied to flood protection, drinking water, dams, levees and environmental restoration.

The legislation passed 417-3, and will now go to conference with a similar Senate bill, which was passed in May.

“This bipartisan legislation will help strengthen our ports, waterways and water infrastructure here on the Central Coast and across the country,” Capps said. “This bill is also good for our economy, creating a large number of jobs and providing millions of dollars for local governments and flood protection.”

Unlike past WRDA bills, this bill does not contain any project-specific authorizations because of new earmark rules. Instead, the bill would create a new process — directing the Army Corps to generate lists of approval-worthy projects and submit them to Congress for consideration in future bills — for new project authorizations going forward.

While the bill is a positive bipartisan step forward, it unfortunately contains provisions that would limit public participation and environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. While proponents argue the changes are aimed at reducing project delays, the Congressional Research Service and the Government Accountability Office have repeatedly concluded that infrastructure projects are typically delayed by changes in project design, project size or complexity, or lack of funding — not NEPA.

Capps voted for an amendment to delay these provisions until the corps certifies that there is sufficient funding to reduce the current backlog of authorized corps projects to less than $20 billion. This amendment failed by a vote of 183-236.

“I certainly support responsible efforts to reduce project delays, but undermining the NEPA process is not the way to do it,” Capps said. “Thorough environmental review and public input are critical components of any successful infrastructure project. We must keep these important protections in place, both for the health of the public and protection of the environment.”

— Chris Meagher is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >