Segment 3 Of 3 Previous Hearing Segment(2)
SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 291 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 THE WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 1996
PLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the Committee at [http://www.house.gov/transportation]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the Committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 1996
U.S. House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Sherwood L. Boehlert (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Good afternoon. The subcommittee will come to order.
Today we convene the third and final scheduled hearing on the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. After today, we will commence the difficult process of putting legislation together to continue the water resources program of the Corps of Engineers. We've received many requests from members of Congress for projects to be included in the bill, and we will weigh each request on the merits, and will be as responsive as we possibly can.
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Frankly, however, I must say that we must also be prudent in approving only those requests that are reasonable, justified and consistent with the principles of sound government and infrastructure investment. It will surprise none of my colleagues on the subcommittee to know that all of our colleagues who are testifying will argue with us that their projects are reasonable, justified and consistent with the principles of sound government and infrastructure investment.
Today we will hear from members of Congress on various project requests. In addition, we will receive testimony on the Washington Aqueduct which provides drinking water for the District of Columbia, Federal Government facilities in the Metro area and several northern Virginia jurisdictions.
Our first panel, however, will address the important issue of flood control in the Sacramento, California area, within the American River watershed.
Before we begin, we all know the ground rules. This is going to be a long day for us here. We have a parade of our colleagues coming before us. We've been advised that we have to vacate the room by 2:30. You all know that your words will be given the very careful consideration they deserve. Your entire statements will appear in the record. We would ask that you do your best to summarize your statement, particularly this first panel, I might point out, that Mr. Pombo have a very important meeting that we have to attend at 10:00 o'clock. So we're going to try to move this along.
And without objection, the opening statements of all members will be admitted to the record.
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[The prepared statements of subcommittee members, submitted for the record, follow:]
Mr. BOEHLERT. And if my colleagues will indulge me, may we proceed?
All right. The first panel consists of four very distinguished colleagues, all from the great State of California. John T. Doolittle, Vic Fazio, Bob Matsui and Rick Pombo. I will ask that we go in the order introduced. That sandwiches our two Democrat colleagues in between our two bookends, the Republicans. How more fair can you be.
TESTIMONY OF HON. VIC FAZIO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. ROBERT T. MATSUI, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; AND HON. RICHARD W. POMBO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Mr. Chairman, if I may, I think we're going to have Mr. Fazio begin.
Page 294 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. BOEHLERT. Fine, this is teamwork.
Mr. FAZIO. As you can see, Mr. Chairman, we're already deeply into the bipartisanship needed to succeed here. I have to be at a hearing of the House Oversight Committee and my colleagues have been kind enough to let me go first.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Fine.
Mr. FAZIO. And I am pleased that all four of us can be here today, because we represent all of Sacramento County among us, Congressman Matsui being the only one who represents only that county, but all four of us are here today because we share a common goal, and that's to provide flood protection for the Sacramento area.
In 1986, as I'm sure you will hear more of today, we went through a very serious flood experience. It proved to us that Folsom Dam, which had been built in the 1950s, did not have the 100 year flood protection for our community that had been alleged when it was built. In fact, estimates vary, but it's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 70 percent of the 100 year protection that we had initially thought we had attained by the construction of that facility.
In 1992, Congressman Matsui and I brought through this committee to the floor a proposal to provide for 200 year protection. We did not go with the NED proposal that you're going to be hearing about today which we are basically here to support, because we thought at the time perhaps a smaller detention dam, flow-through facility, dry dam, you can call it anything you want, would have been more acceptable to those members of Congress currently representing the country in that time frame.
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Turned out that it did not suffice, it did not satisfy our colleagues. We went back to the drawing board, working with the Corps of Engineers and we're back today with a much more thoroughly constructed proposal which has been introduced by Mr. Doolittle with the rest of us as cosponsors.
We had decided back in the 1992 time frame that the flooding of the middle and north fork of the American River canyons for perhaps one out of a 15 or 20 year period was a price worth paying in order to protect the lives and the safety of our several hundred thousand constituents and our $15 billion to $16 billion of assessed valuation in the area most vulnerable to flooding. We regret that our proposal at that time did not succeed.
But we do believe that what we are presenting today is an outgrowth of that detention dam at the Auburn site, now recommended by the Corps with far more finite economic estimates. We think it's time for this committee to do all it can to address the deficit that this chart that Mr. Doolittle will go into more depth on to your right makes very clear. Our community has grown markedly. Our region is now over a million and a half people. And we have flood protection that's worthy of much smaller communities, which would have a much lesser impact on the Federal Treasury should they be required to draw down FEMA reserves and in other ways seek redress from serious flooding.
So I want to just say that with all of the effort we've put forth to bring together this group of members, we feel we have done our job of providing the kind of unity that this committee would seek from any delegation attempting to solve its local problems. The legislation in my view has been improved. It ensures that the Federal Government is going to be reimbursed for those expansion features that may occur related to water and power development.
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The Federal Government is in the business, obviously, of providing a lot of flood protection. And we think the benefits that go beyond that should be provided to the local community at their cost, and not to the Federal Government's. Congressman Doolittle has agreed that this facility, upon completion, should be transferred to the State, so that there won't be any local rivalry between jurisdictions about how this asset will be managed for the future.
He has gone, I think, a long way on the issue of dam safety, since that is a problem existing at Folsom Dam, which would continue to play a major role in our area, and has agreed that a safety study should be carried out and that the minimal dam safety requirements that that study shows us should be seriously considered by this Congress, so that we can go ahead and make sure that in short run, we have the protection the community needs, while the detention facility is being built. And for other purposes down the road, since we still have other in-flows to Folsom Dam itself, that won't be impacted by any facility at Auburn.
So Mr. Chairman, let me just conclude, because I know you're busy and you have a lot of other people to hear from, aside from this group. We have no reason to delay. This community needs flood protection in this Congress. We have a community that's vulnerable. We have waited 10 years to be at this point. It will take probably another 10 if we're successful in this Congress to get the kind of flood protection we seek.
We need this committee to work with us to help us find a solution. We understand this has become a major political issue, a major environmental issue, a major issue for taxpayers groups. But in our community, we see it as our chance to get the assistance of the Federal Government to attain the level of safety that other comparable communities already have. And we believe this committee is the key to not only giving us the opportunity to not only make our case to our colleagues, but to the Administration.
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Thank you, Mr. Boehlert, for giving us the time this morning.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. And just let me say before we continue that we have 435 members of the House, and it will not surprise you to learn that most of them have been before this subcommittee in one form or another with a request. I know of no group in the Congress that has been more effective on a bipartisan basis in terms of the advocacy role. Individually I have talked with each of you. Mr. Doolittle has provided me with a very comprehensive briefing. I probably know more about this than I ever thought I would know. And Mr. Pombo has been very effective in buttonholing me from time to time to add a little nuance to the whole thing.
So the Sacramento area can be very proud of its bipartisan delegation. I have a special place in my heart for Sacramento. My dad and stepmother lived there for many years. He worked at McClelland Air Force Base, and I had the privilege of visiting, so I know the area somewhat.
Thank you very much. Now, the team tells me who's next. Mr. Doolittle, you've just signed the batting order. Who's next?
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Mr. Matsui.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Matsui, you bat second. Who's batting cleanup?
Page 298 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. POMBO. I think Mr. Doolittle is.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Matsui.
Mr. MATSUI. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I'd like to thank all of you for giving us this opportunity to testify. Mr. Doolittle, Mr. Fazio, Mr. Pombo and myself have joined together in introducing a piece of legislation that we think is a win-win for all of California and certainly for all of the people of this country in terms of controlling the imminent danger of flooding in the Sacramento area.
Mr. Fazio outlined the history of this issue from 1986 forward in terms of the flood danger in Sacramento County. If one were to look at photographs of buildings and structures that were built in the 1850s, one would find that Sacramento had structures built on 15 foot stilts, mainly because it's a flood plain. And I suppose if we were to look at the region today, we would probably conclude that development shouldn't go there.
But unfortunately, as Mr. Fazio said, we have one and a half million people that live in this area now. We have 400,000 people that would be in jeopardy if we had a 100 year flood. We also have $37 billion worth of property that would be in jeopardy, serious jeopardy, because a flood could actually put all this property 5 to 20 feet underwater. And also, we have the State capitol of California, 6 major hospitals, 117 schools, and 160,000 residential structures.
Page 299 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 The real problem with all of this is that the notice of evacuating these people in the event of a major flood wouldn't be three or four days or a week, it would be anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. Sacramento already has a high levee system built all around it. And if those levees should break, up to 20 feet of water would engulf much of the Sacramento region. In fact, in February 1986, when we first realized that we had under 100 year flood protection, another inch or two of continuous rain would have probably resulted in the breakage of the levees. And once they would have broken, it would have created a cataclysmic situation.
Mr. Doolittle's bill basically will address this issue, because it ultimately would give us 500 year protection for Sacramento County. Now, I would have to say that some might question whether that's appropriate. But cities like St. Louis, Kansas City and Tacoma, Washington, that are near major rivers and tributaries, have a minimum of 500 year protection. We would be the only city without that kind of protection in a region with major rivers and streams. And that's why this is very critical.
Now, some will argue that 200 year protection would be sufficient for Sacramento. The problem is, if we have 200 year protection, there's no margin of safety, no margin of error. As a result, large floods that the Corps of Engineers believe to be possible could still cause the catastrophic situation that we are describing to all of you. That's why an expandable dam in the Auburn area is essential to provide adequate protection. And that's why all of us in this region support it.
I might point out that the total damage that we estimate, if we had a 100 year flood, would be approximately $7 billion for Sacramento County. If we have a 500 year flood, it would be approximately $16 billion. And what we're talking about here is about $600 million in Federal funds, with State and local government providing the balance. We feel that this is a very small amount in terms of the potential costs that the Federal Government, State government and all the taxpayers of this country will have to incur, should a 100 year or 500 year flood occur in our region.
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So we would hope that this committee, and certainly the House, would give favorable consideration to Mr. Doolittle's bill. We think that this is essential for the safety of the people of our region.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much.
My colleague, Mr. Pombo.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I, too, will be brief. You've heard a lot about the potential impacts of a 100 year flood in the Sacramento region, what that would do to all four of our constituents. And I think the reason you see us here on a bipartisan basis working together is because it is such a serious situation that has developed over the years.
There is a great deal of support for the Auburn dam project in the local area. The California State Board of Reclamation and SAFCA have approved resolutions calling for construction of the dam. Both are committed to contribute a total of $350 million. Outside of the immediate area, San Joaquin County, which is my home county, is prepared to offer a cost share mechanism. They are already on record as supporting construction of the dam as well as providing for partial funding to pay for the dam.
There are some oppositions to the construction of the dam. A lot of it is so-called unmitigatible impacts to the area, as well as unlikely seismic activity that could occur in that area. I would like to point out to the Chairman, and I know this is an area of interest to you, that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the EPA have stated that the building of the Auburn dam will not pose any threat to endangered species within the area.
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The Army Corps has proposed mitigation measures. On-site, they would acquire close to 1,500 acres along the north and middle forks of the American River. And they would implement a management plan for that area. Off-site, there would be about 2,700 acres along the Yuba River near Englebright Lake and conduct a planting program which would restore some of the lost habitat values that would occur because of the construction of the project.
I've been told that they've determined the last major earthquake in the area was some 60 million years ago. So that does not seem like a very real threat at this point.
The other side of this, Mr. Chairman, is there are a number of potential environmental benefits from the construction of this dam. And I think that many times we overlook what those benefits could be. Besides the obviously protection of flooding in the area, which could cause severe problems from flooding of sewer systems and some of the chemical and manufacturing plants that are in the area, it would help provide additional water supplies to help normalize the operation of the Folsom Reservoir.
One thing that I am very concerned about is that it would provide badly needed cold water flows down the American River, which would flush the salt water intrusion from the delta region. I represent the majority of the California delta. And we do have severe problems that have occurred with salt water intrusion and water quality problems. And one of the best solutions that we can on that is in developing new water that can have flows at the right time of the year, which will also help considerably with the endangered species problem that we have in the delta. We have a number of aquatic species which have been listed as endangered in the area. And this is one way that we can come to some term in dealing with the problems, specific problems, with those particular species.
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One of the issues that's been brought up is the much heralded Bay-Delta accord, and that this somehow would affect that issue. If Auburn were constructed, it's my belief that this would enhance the ability of the Bay-Delta accord to operate, because it would provide some additional water and flexibility in California's water system.
In closing, I would just like to say that California's economy is very closely tied to our water. And western states without water, we have very little. The agricultural economy in California, agriculture being California's number one industry, is very closely tied to our ability to provide water. A better management system is severely needed. And Auburn would play a part in all of that.
We need to come up with a new vision for California water policy. We've basically run off of a 1950s water policy and have done very little to improve upon that. I think the kind of bipartisan support that you've seen here today, the kind of bipartisan support that we do have in the California delegation on this issue, is a step in the right direction of providing water for the future.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Pombo. Now, the cleanup hitter, Mr. Doolittle.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Mr. Chairman and members, thank you very much for this opportunity to address the subcommittee. And I thank my colleagues from Sacramento who joined with me in making this appeal to you.
Page 303 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 I'd like to hit the cost issue first up. I understand that the $609 million Federal contribution that we seek is a great deal of money. However, I will tell you with all sincerity that with regard to the flood control protection for Sacramento, Congress really has just two options: pay now or pay much more later. Building the Auburn Dam is the fiscally responsible thing to do. Mr. Matsui outlined in some detail the amounts of property at risk here in the 170 mile flood plain. Our city, Sacramento, stands at the confluence of two of the State's mightiest rivers. During flood stages, the water is 15 to 20 feet over the heads of most of the residents in the city, because it's flowing through these levees where the residents are essentially at sea level.
The Corps cannot really project how many lives would be lost with certainty. They estimate from the first six hours a hundred lives would be lost with a breach of the levee. The damage would be anywhere from $7 billion to $16 billion. Assuming that Sacramento were bailed out at the same level as other communities have been helped out by the Congress, disasters, we would anticipate with a $7 billion amount of damage the Federal tab would be $2.85 billion, more than four times the cost of what we're seeking to build this flood control project.
Opponents of the project portray the Sacramento community as being deeply divided over which flood control plan it desires. This characterization is worse than misleading, it's demonstrably false. If you'll look at this chart over here, you will see that there is substantial support in every portion of the region for this flood control proposal. Really approaching it at two to one at the minimum and going up three to one in many portions of the region. This was the most extensive scientific survey that's been done in the region to date. It was completed in February of 1996. Less than 17 percent oppose the Auburn Dam.
Page 304 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 The Sacramento community, Mr. Chairman, that poll revealed, is willing to step up to the plate and put its money where its mouth is. You all know the anti-tax revolution started in California. And I think this chart indicates a pretty impressive level of support where a majority of the voters polled indicated they would pay an additional $90 per year, which is more than what we need in order to pay the local share of this dam. And there's very little opposition.
Even the dam's most vociferous opponents recognize that the dam is the only solution that protects us against what the Corps projects will be the flood event that we will sustain in Sacramento. And when we were here before the committee last month, you heard from Mr. Ron Stork, Friends of the River Director. And he noted that the leading non-dam alterative, the Stepped Release Plan, provides just 235 year flood protection, which is less than the protection the Corps says we need. Mr. Stork included this chart which you see right there in his testimony. We've blown it up so that you can see it.
We haven't changed it other than we drew the red line across the top showing the standard project flood. And then we've colored in the two bars. The one bar on the left is the amount of flooding that we will expect from the flood. And the bar on the right represents the level of protection offered by the Stepped Release Plan. You can see that the one on the right is shorter than the one on the left.
So even the Friends of the River acknowledge that they don't think we need the protection that the Corps says we're going to have to have. And in their own testimony, they confirm that. I agree with them that no other alternative, other than the Auburn Dam, protects Sacramento against this level of flooding.
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Mr. Chairman, the fourth chart shows the difference in protection that would be provided. You can see the amount of money provided for the Auburn Dam on the left, the blue bar. And then the other blue bar on the right is the amount of money for the Stepped Release Plan. Then look at the green bars. In a 200 year flood event, with the Auburn Dam, there's a 3 percent chance of failure with that system in place. With the Stepped Release Plan, which costs just $150 million less, we have a 32 percent chance of failure with that plan.
This is why the Corps designated the Auburn Dam as the NED plan. It provides the most bang for the buck. With 400,000 people in the flood plain, we cannot take the risk that would be occasioned by doing less than the Auburn Dam. And I would appreciate, Mr. Chairman, the chance to answer any questions that you or members may have. And I thank you for this opportunity to address the subcommittee.
Mr. WAMP [assuming Chair]. Thank you, Mr. Doolittle
The Chair recognizes the distinguished Chairman of the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who has joined us and has a brief statement.
Mr. SHUSTER. Thank you very much. I certainly welcome you being here today.
The legislation that we're going to deal with in the coming weeks I think is of extraordinary importance. Water resources infrastructure certainly is fundamentally tied to the economic well-being of our whole country. In Pennsylvania and in the northeast we've certainly experienced very, very serious flooding just in the past few months and it points up the fact that this is not a western problem or a Midwestern problem or a southern or a northern problem. This is a national problem for our country. I am dedicated to the fundamental principle that the Federal Government has a role here and that the Federal Government's role must be continued and protected.
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Beyond that, with regard to the Auburn Dam, I have been briefed extensively on that over the several months, and I believe this is a project that we should move forward on. And I'm looking forward to strong bipartisan support which I see in front of me right now from the members of the delegation from California.
Beyond that, with regard to the witnesses we will hear today concerning the drinking water system that serves Washington and the northern Virginia suburbs, indeed it is true, it's the only drinking water system in America run by the Corps of Engineers. Regardless of who we decide should run it, it should be run effectively. It should be managed professionally. And I'm dedicated to that proposition.
And finally today, we're going to hear from several of our colleagues on their various water project needs, and I again emphasize the importance of these hearings. I congratulate the chairman and the ranking member and all the members of the subcommittee for moving expeditiously on this very important legislation. Thank you.
Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Before we open the floor for any members who may have questions of these two members who are here for this testimony today, I'd just like to say that having gone during February out into the Midwest and Oklahoma and southeast Kansas for some members who are having water problems, I want to echo the full Chairman's sentiment about the important challenges before us and that we do in a bipartisan way on this committee and the respective subcommittees come together for the good of the country.
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And it's a joy to see Republicans and Democrats coming together on these critical programs. The infrastructure of this Nation is something that transcends parties and ideologies and it is reshaping our priorities. And as we have the money to meet these needs and we come together on these priorities, we can solve the problems of the country. And I commend both these members for coming together today.
Do we have any questions? It doesn't matter what time you came in, any questions from either side of the aisle. Mr. Quinn from New York.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Very briefly, not a question, but a comment. I think besides pointing out, Mr. Matsui, the effect and the assessed valuation, the population that's affected by the area, I think Mr. Doolittle was assigned to see me before the hearing, and we had a great conversation. We got lots of information in the office.
What I wanted to point out, Mr. Chairman, is the fact that all of the four members this morning pointed out, this isn't just a request for a handout from the Federal Government. You've explained properly that local governments, state governments, county governments, are also participating in doing their fair share both with the planning as well as putting the money up from their constituents as well. So I think as a former local elected official up in western New York State, I understand how important it is for the project to be done, but also that everybody's willing to do their fair share, and I think that's great to see. I appreciate it very much.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you.
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Mr. WAMP. Other questions before we dismiss this panel? Gentlemen, thank you. You're welcome to go. And we dismiss panel one and ask panel two, Ms. Norton, Mr. Moran and Mr. Davis, to please come forward.
Ms. Norton, you're first. So if you will, begin.
TESTIMONY OF HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, A DELEGATE IN CONGRESS FROM THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; HON. JAMES P. MORAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM VIRGINIA; AND HON. THOMAS M. DAVIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM VIRGINIA; HON. JOHN H. ZIRSCHKY, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY TO THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY FOR CIVIL WORKS; AND EDWARD W. LIMBACH, VICE PRESIDENT, AMERICAN WATER WORKS COMPANY, VOORHEES, NJ
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I ask that my full statement be put in the record and I be allowed simply to summarize.
Mr. WAMP. Without objection.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, the matter involving the aqueduct which provides water mainly to Washington, D.C., is capable of bipartisan solution in the spirit in which this subcommittee and committee have always operated. And it's capable of what is also an indispensable ingredient of a solutionthat it be regionally fair and workable.
I've had a particular interest in the Aqueduct since the boil water alert of December 1993 when I asked the then-Chairman if a hearing could be held. The hearing uncovered many problems in the infrastructure of the Aqueduct. As a result of that, Congressman Jim Moran, Senator John Warner and I got included in the D.C. Appropriations Bill a provision for a study on options for financing the capital improvements, because the way they have been financed all along is up front, through the ratepayer. When you have to do a major renovation that becomes impossible.
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On January 31st, 1996, I introduced H.R. 2917. That's a bill that authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to borrow from the Treasury in order to finance the capital improvements. Actually, my bill is the same as that introduced by and now a part of the Safe Drinking Water Act, Senator John Warner, who is Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
I remain open to any suggestions to fix this problem. At the moment, the fastest and least contentious way is the Warner-Norton approach of getting the money from the Treasury. It's got CBO scoring sign-off, and it's got consensus in the regionthe indispensable ingredients for going forward.
I do want to say what is not acceptable. The Army Corps of Engineers has been unilaterally negotiating with the Fairfax County Water Authority, which is not a customer of the Aqueduct. District officials strongly oppose transferring the Aqueduct to the Fairfax Authority for several reasons.
Fairfax is already seeking ownership without compensating the District or the Federal Government or the other customer jurisdictions that have paid millions of dollars for over a hundred years into this project. The District alone, for example, if we take just the last 15 years, has invested approximately $91 million. Second, I understand that the Fairfax Authority, and this is truly astonishing, would not permit the District, Arlington County or Falls Church to have representation on the board were it to take over the aqueduct. What that means is somebody who is not a customer could then set water rates for my district and for Jim Moran's district. That's a non-starter, undemocratic, and totally unacceptable.
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If I may say so, if the city were Chicago, and its suburban jurisdictions of the city, or Atlanta or almost any other city, I don't think any agency of the Federal Government would think about negotiating around them instead of including them or coming directly to them to seek a solution. It's not going to happen here.
The Fairfax Authority's main selling point for its proposal is that by combining the Aqueduct with its own system, there would be savings of approximately $200 million to be realized by the regional users. The study is useless. It's unclear, for example, as to the timeframe over which these savings would accrue and the extent to which the savings depend on receiving this $250 million asset for free. The proposal was prepared by consultants bought and paid for by the Fairfax Authority with no input from the customer jurisdictions. There needs to be an independent analysis by a consultant who is chosen by those directly involved.
I have had several conversations with Secretary of the Army Togo West concerning this matter. He has said that I could quote him this morning to this effect. He has assured me that the Army's position on the Aqueduct is that while it wants eventually not to be in the business it is in now, of operating the facility, it will work with Congress and the customer jurisdictions on developing an appropriate plan for the disposition of the Aqueduct without any preconceptions on the Corps' part. He has simply said he wanted to work in good faith in providing technical assistance and expertise.
This is a quintessential regional matter. I'm sure it can be solved in a regional way. The Army Corps of Engineers, intentionally or not, has not demonstrated a good faith interest in the solution for any party except itself and has forced me to deal directly with the Secretary and with the White House. Now a meeting has been set up with the District and the Aqueduct's other customer jurisdictions to discuss the matter.
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As long as we have discussions that show respect for all ratepayers, I'm sure that we can come to a solution. I particularly look forward to working with my two colleagues, Mr. Davis and Mr. Moran, because these are problem solvers. And I know that they want an equitable and workable solution as much as I do.
I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WAMP. Thank you.
Mr. Moran, are you ready at this time?
Mr. MORAN. You bet, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate Ms. Norton's testimony. It is nice to be able to work with Tom and Eleanor on an issue like this. And it's particularly good of this committee to focus on the Washington aqueduct and give us the time and attention you're giving us today.
I represent Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, two of the customers of the Washington aqueduct. And we are all very much concerned over the ability to make the long-needed capital improvements to this aqueduct. It is hard to believe that the Corps of Engineers, unlike virtually every other water authority in the entire country, does not have the authority to issue bonds to cover the costs of these long overdue capital improvements. This doesn't become an issue anyplace else. It's just because of this irrational system, that requires the aqueduct customers, in other words, the people that use this water authority, to pay up front on a pay as you go basis.
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Just to give you a sense of what this means, the people in Arlington, if we were to go forward with the way OMB wants to do it, the rates would climb from $124 per household to $305, 146 percent increase. Over the next decade, the rates will rise between 143 and 193 percent to pay for the $486 million in capital improvements that EPA requires to be made to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
We can't expect these customers to pay for this doubling and in many cases tripling of the household water rates. And it's unfair to ask the citizens to pay for improvements up front now, when people moving into the northern Virginia area 10 and 15 years from now are going to reap all the benefits of these improvements by paying nothing for them. We have a 40 percent turnover every four years. And so most of the people who are going to be benefitted are not the people who are going to be paying for the improvements.
So on principles of equity and common sense and good government, we really ought to allow customers to pay for these improvements over time, the way that you would in the private sector and in the municipal sector outside the Federal Government. It doesn't make sense the way we're doing it now. I introduced legislation in the 103rd Congress to fix the problem. It's virtually identical to the legislation that Ms. Norton and Senator Warner have re-introduced here.
I would hope that you would support that legislation. It simply allows the Corps of Engineers to act rationally to borrow funds from the Federal Treasury to be repaid over time by the aqueduct customers, just as they paid every penny of the aqueduct capital and operating costs since 1927. This is the way they've always done it.
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The CBO said that this is the right way to do it, that borrowing authority would not be scored against the Corps' budget on a one-shot basis. Unfortunately, OMB disagreed. And I had any number of conversations with Leon Panetta and Alice Rivlin, normally very rational people. But they chose to be irrational on this. They said, no, you've got to score the entire capital improvement on a one-time basis against the Corps of Engineers, which means that the Corps of Engineers can do virtually nothing else throughout the country but to take care of the aqueduct. It doesn't make sense.
So it's not the Corps of Engineers' fault that they couldn't go forward with these improvements. It's OMB's fault, to be perfectly honest with you. That's why it would be helpful if this committee would work with OMB and try to get them to show some common sense about this, and to support what is now Ms. Norton's and Senator Warner's proposal.
There are also other proposals out there for alternative ownership of the aqueduct. You could create a public authority among the user jurisdictions that would operate the aqueduct. American Water Works, a private company that supplies water to Alexandria, in Alexandria; we don't use the aqueduct water. We use water from Virginia American Water Company, which is part of American Water Works. It's worked fine. They could lease the aqueduct facilities for the long term and operate the facilities for the customers.
And the Fairfax County Water Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers have had extensive discussions about turning over the operations of the aqueduct to the Fairfax Water Authority. All of these options should be given very serious consideration. I think all of them are very valid, legitimate approaches, and constructive approaches.
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But at a minimum, we should support the Federal transfer legislation, so that that option is a realistic one. And it fairly recognize the historic role that the Washington aqueduct customers have had in paying for what is now the existing aqueduct infrastructure. Arlington County and the City of Falls Church are meeting constantly to discuss all these proposals with the District of Columbia. They're meeting with D.C. perhaps more than they did in the past.
But I know that they're very anxious to work with the District. And I think we can come up with a mutually beneficial solution. And hopefully, we'll expedite this transfer legislation.
We have to do something now. We can't be using an infrastructure that was really put in place more than 70 years ago. And we ought to use some common sense. We've got a lot of good proposals for this committee to consider, whether it be the Fairfax Water Authority or the American Water Works or letting the Corps of Engineers, which I think is Ms. Norton's preference, or some other public entity.
But the customers need to have control over the decision making. And the current customers should not have to pay for the long term improvements in a lump sum like OMB has suggested. So we have a way out of this problem, and I trust that the committee is going to work with us to take that most rational and constructive way.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 315 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Moran.
Before we introduce Mr. Davis, let me say that in the event that there is a vote, I think we plan to carry forward? May not. May have to recess. We're going to try to tag team it to move things forward. We have almost 30 members, I think, that are going to testify today. So we've got to keep things moving.
Mr. DAVIS. I'll try to stay on my green time.
Let me thank you for the opportunity to testify, and thank my colleagues for their input. We're here for two reasons. First of all, the Army Corps of Engineers has basically said they want out. This is the only water service they're operating in the country today.
Secondly, major improvements are needed, up to $400 million in capital investment has to be made in this. And the Corps of Engineers, under current law, can't borrow. Under the law that Ms. Norton proposes, Senator Warner has proposed, they could borrow over the short term. That doesn't address the issue that they'd still like out of this.
But more importantly, as Mr. Moran said, the Office of Management and Budget says it scores. And as long as it says it scores, regardless of what CBO says, we have to have some offsets somewhere. And if some of you are willing to offer that up, that's great. We will take that and go home and call it a day. But otherwise, we're going to have to be more creative in how we look at this.
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I think there are a number of proposals that are out there. I want to note for the record that I have over 200,000 Fairfax County constituents that are served by this, including my home, is served from the Washington aqueduct. And although Fairfax County is not a direct purchaser of the water, we purchase through the City of Falls Church, a city of about 11,000 people. They are certainly players in this game and have customers to be served as well.
But I don't want to get into jurisdictional issues. That shouldn't drive this. What ought to drive this for everybody is how can we, given these issues, get the cheapest water and the cleanest water, the cleanest water at the cheapest price, whether it's the county water authority, whether it's the American Water Works, whether it's the Corps of Engineers, whether it's some kind of regional authority, that ought to drive the process.
My constituents, Ms. Norton's constituents, Mr. Moran's constituents, Mr. Wolf's constituents, when they turn that spigot on, they want to be assured they're getting clean water and not paying any more than they have to fore it. I don't think they care who controls it. I think you want to have input from all the jurisdictions in an idea world, but today we don't. Washington, D.C., Falls Church, they don't get votes at the table now over the way the rates are set. The aqueduct, right now, the Corps of Engineers sets that on a basis.
I would hope that if we go into some kind of regional facility, we can work something out that would be satisfactory to all of us at that point. We're all grown-ups and I hope we can work with that.
I would ask unanimous consent that my full statement be included in the record. I want to note one other point if I can in terms of Fairfax County Water Authority, which is one of the largest in the country, and has the best bond rating of any water authority in the country. And that's why that's critical. When it comes to borrowing money, they have a good bond rating and they can get the water at a cheaper price for capital improvements than any of the other jurisdictions that are talking about this now, including American Water Works, including the Corps, including some kind of regional authority.
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But a combined system, combining the Washington Aqueduct with what the county water authority now provides for Fairfax and Prince William counties and a number of other counties in suburban Virginia, provides access to low-cost capital. What it does is, the combined system would offer advantages because the county and northern Virginia is still growing, and it will need to invest in new expensive water plant improvements to increase capacity.
The Washington Aqueduct was built in anticipation of continued growth in the District. But this growth has not happened. The city has been losing population. So as that growth has not happened, the counties in northern Virginia jurisdictions could tap into this additional capacity at a lower cost than building brand-new facilities. That's why the Fairfax Water approach makes sense for a lot of reasons.
But we don't need to determine that today. If we can just be guided by the principle of, let's get the cleanest water at the cheapest price, I think that everybody, the citizens who are paying for this, or the consumers and the Federal Government and everybody would be better off. As long as that's our adage, I am open to any and all suggestions. And I would just ask unanimous consent the rest of my statement be in the record. And I will open up for questions.
Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Davis. All three members are to be commended and Mr. Davis, particularly you, for 15 months of a lot of activity and a lot of productivity. Mr. Moran?
Mr. MORAN. Yes, Mr. Chairman, could I just have unanimous consent to submit Arlington County's testimony into the record at this point?
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Mr. WAMP. Without objection.
[The information submitted follows:]
Mr. DAVIS. And if I could have unanimous consent to put a statement by the Fairfax Water Authority into the record at a later date, while these hearings are open.
Mr. WAMP. Without objection.
[Information received follows:]
Mr. WAMP. I think the much thinner and healthier Mr. Bateman would like to weigh in from the State of Virginia as well.
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I'll weigh in, and only very briefly to say that the thing which I find compelling in what's been said to the committee this morning is, how do you get the cleanest, safest, water at the most economical rate. And it would seem to me to be a disservice to the people of D.C., to northern Virginia, to the entire region and certainly to the taxpayers and users not to adopt that approach. That's what I
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Mr. DAVIS. Mr. Bateman, could I just interject a comment? Some of your constituents in Stafford County are served by the county water authority, and could benefit with a combined system with the kind of infrastructure improvements that need to be made. Not that that has to be factored into the final equation, if the city can be served in a cleaner or cheaper way. But I just want to put that on the record.
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, it would occur to me that if it can happen and is beneficial for the people in Stafford, for the very same reasons they would be beneficial for the people in the District of Columbia. But I'm just taking as a guiding principle my agreement with you that it ought to be the cleanest, safest supply of water at the lowest price to all of the people involved. And I hope and believe that would be the position that this committee will take.
Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Bateman.
The Chair recognizes the ranking member, Mr. Borski.
Mr. BORSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to just thank my colleagues. We appreciate very much your working and trying as hard as you can to come up with a consensus. As Ms. Norton well knows, our committee tries very hard to work in a bipartisan manner, both the subcommittee and the full committee. And I would just encourage you to keep working and to try and come to an agreement among all the interested parties. It would be very helpful for the subcommittee. Congratulations and keep up the good work. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. WAMP. Thank you.
The Chair will then dismiss panel two, and ask Dr. Zirschky to come forward, please.
The Chair recognizes Dr. John Zirschky, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, for an opening statement.
Mr. ZIRSCHKY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I will be brief. However, there are a few points based on the earlier testimony that I would like to make. I'll do that as part of my statement.
The first point I would like to make is that the water that the Army Corps of Engineers produces at the Washington Aqueduct is safe. As Exhibit A, I will drink some of it.
There's been a lot of confusion about the kind of water we produce. I hope I don't fall over and faint. I'm a bit nervous. And that wouldn't do well for our facility, now, would it.
In December 1993, there was a boil water order, but contamination was not found. The boil water order was made as a precaution. We continue to produce safe drinking water for the Nation's capital. We view the concern of some of our customers over us getting out of the water treatment business as the ultimate endorsement. If they weren't happy with the service we were providing, they would be here screaming to you to get us out of the business. But they're not.
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The second point I'd like to make is that the United States Army doesn't want to be in the wholesale water business. The reason we don't have authority, like a public authority, to borrow money is we're not a public authority. We're the United States Army. And we would like to get out of the drinking water supply business.
There are 59,000 other public water treatment systems in the country. They're not operated by the Army, and they do just fine.
I have a chart that I would like to show. Some have questioned our good faith to our customers. This is what we saw in 1994, when we were asked to put together a report on what to do about the Washington Aqueduct. This is, again, year 1995. We're looking at the increases in water rates that are projected, quadrupling, in some cases, back from earlier levels, or tripling from 1995 levels. Had we been able to amortize some of the debt and start making some of the repairs, you would have seen the green lines now. The longer that we take to resolve this problem, the more likely we are to end up with the red lines rather than the green lines in terms of wholesale water rates.
We are right now one of the lowest cost providers of water in the area. We soon won't be with that kind of growth in costs. We don't believe that is fair to our customers. We believe we have acted in good faith with our customers to try and prevent this kind of a situation.
We need your help, though, to make this happen. We would like to turn over the facility to a public authority. That was the recommendation of the Secretary of the Army.
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Some of our customers have been concerned that we perhaps haven't been negotiating in good faith. We believe that assertion is incorrect. We were asked by the D.C. Oversight Committee to work with the Fairfax County Water Authority to provide them information so that they could give advice to that committee on our situation. As a result of Fairfax County's analysis of that situation, they determined that they might like to make an offer for our plant.
In the fall of last year, we wrote to all of our customers and said, Fairfax County has expressed an interest, excuse me, the Fairfax County Water Authority has expressed an interest in acquiring the facility and we would like to know your views. We did not hear any views at that time.
So in January 1996, we convened a meeting of our customers to say the following: The Fairfax County Water Authority has approached us with this offer. Here is the offer they are making. Please let us know by the end of January what your consensus position as our customers is regarding this transfer. We have not yet heard a consensus position from our customers about this transfer. We believe the following issues to be important: representation of our customers with whoever gets the facility. We have maintained that throughout these discussions.
We also believe it is important to consider the employment rights of the people currently working for the United States Army. They have provided good, quality drinking water and they deserve to be protected.
We also have a concern regarding the land. If we were to turn over the real estate associated with the Washington Aqueduct to a public authority, we would require that that land be used henceforth for drinking water supply purposes or that it would revert to the Army. We don't want to turn the land over to someone who might then use if for another kind of real estate development.
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We believe that the customers have paid for the facility, we want to work with the customers. We hope that our customers will come up with a consensus position. We believe we've acted in good faith. We believe the Fairfax County Water Authority has acted in good faith.
Even if we were not to transfer the facility to them, but we were to create a regional authority, which was the recommendation of the Secretary of the Army, there would be some economic reasons for the Fairfax County Water Authority and a new water authority, if one were created, to make a strategic alliance to share facilities. That way we could both reap the benefits of an extra $200 million in savings. We think that's worth exploring, regardless of who gets the ownership.
We do believe our customers' rights need to be protected. We believe in acting in good faith with our customers.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Borski.
Mr. WAMP. Dr. Zirschky, can you summarize any of the recent discussions that you've had with Fairfax County Water Authority regarding this transfer and their particular capabilities in the event that that were accomplished?
Mr. ZIRSCHKY. Yes. The most recent discussions that I have had were at this January 5th meeting in 1996, where they came in and made their presentation, discussed conceptually how it would work, how the two systems would be linked by a central main, and what kind of economic savings could be achieved. At that meeting, and in the presence of Fairfax County, we told our customers that before we moved forward on this, we would like to give our customers an opportunity to come up with a consensus position.
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I have had no discussions furthering this possible transfer with Fairfax County since January 5th. We have provided a letter to the Fairfax County Water Authority saying that the Army is still interested in a transfer to someone of the facility.
Mr. WAMP. Ms. Norton, do you have any questions?
Ms. NORTON. Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman. Would you list, Dr. Zirschky, the various options for attending to the problems of the Aqueduct?
Mr. ZIRSCHKY. Yes, ma'am. In the Secretary of the Army's report dated February 1st, 1995, and I can provide a copy to anyone who would like one, we listed six options. One was to do Federal financing. We don't believe in this era of deficit reduction that the Federal Government ought to borrow the money. OMB is going to score it against the Army's budget.
We could also look at customer financing of the facility. We would still maintain the ownership, but the customers could finance it. One of the downsides of that is working through the District of Columbia's financial situation. They are, as Ms. Norton correctly stated, the major user of water. They use 60 percent of the water that we produce. The Federal Government uses 15 percent and northern Virginia uses 25 percent.
We looked at a non-Federal public ownership of the facility, both Federal financing of that through loan guarantees or perhaps the new revolving fund that the committee has considered, or bond financing, which would be having the authority borrow the money using revenue bonds or some other means. That takes us through four options.
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The fifth and sixth options were variations of a private ownership, turning the facility over to a private equity company, to either privately finance it or again seek Federal or public financing of the facility.
We looked at those six options. The one that the Secretary of the Army deemed most appropriate was to look at a public, non-Federal authority with bonding capability to borrow the money against the revenue streams that would be produced. And that is still the position of the Army.
Ms. NORTON. Dr. Zirschky, you indicated that you had communicated with the customer jurisdictions and had received no response. Did you take that to mean that whatever you wanted to do had their consent?
Mr. ZIRSCHKY. No, ma'am. And since then, we have gotten a response. Between the time we wrote to them in September and the time we called the meeting, we did not take it as their acquiescence to the Fairfax County Water Authority's proposal. That is why on January 5th, we called a meeting to make sure that our customers knew what was being discussed and to give them an opportunity to go back, talk amongst themselves, think about it, and let us know what they wanted to do. We had no intention of going around our customers. We called that meeting for the sole purpose of making sure they knew what was going on, and would have an opportunity to let us know their views.
Ms. NORTON. You are unaware of the District's position on the Fairfax County proposal?
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Mr. ZIRSCHKY. Now I am aware, yes, ma'am. And you as well, ma'am, have articulated a very thoughtful
Ms. NORTON. Leave my testimony aside. I'm trying to make sure, Dr. Zirschky, that we set a tone here to arrive at a resolution. So the first thing I want to know is when you became aware of the District of Columbia's position on the Fairfax County Water Authority's proposal?
Mr. ZIRSCHKY. I can't give you a specific date. I do know that in the January 5th meeting they did express some reservations. And the District, as well as the northern Virginia customers, did agree to go back and meet amongst themselves to see what common elements they would have.
Ms. NORTON. Have you had discussions specifically with the District of Columbia?
Mr. ZIRSCHKY. Myself, only at that January 5th meeting.
Ms. NORTON. So you have had discussions specifically with the Fairfax County Water Authority. I'm trying to find out if you have had discussions specifically with the customer jurisdictions.
Mr. ZIRSCHKY. The last discussions I had with the Fairfax County Water Authority were at the January 5, 1996, meeting, the same time that we met the customers
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Ms. NORTON. Was that the only discussion you have had with all of the parties in the room?
Mr. ZIRSCHKY. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, I'm not going to take up more of your time. If I could just say to Dr. Zirschky, that is the problem. When, on this committee, when we have disagreements, we sit down at a table and hammer them out. The absence of collegial discussion has hardened sides here. There's no question in my mind that if a city where a Federal facility was located was receiving 75 percent of the water and used 75 percent of the water, and that city was L.A., San Francisco, Seattle or Atlanta, that you would hardly have been negotiating with jurisdictions in the suburbs and not with the major user of the water.
And that is where you have got the District's back up, and unless you convene collegial discussions and go at this in a problem solving way, I am here to tell you that you are not going to reach a solution to this problem. I am here this morning simply to urge that the tilt, indeed, the absolute preference expressed by the Corps over and over again for a plan that you knew full well did not have the endorsement of the major jurisdiction affected, is an inappropriate way for a Federal official to go at solving a problem. All I am asking is that there be no more unilateral meetings or discussions, but that all meetings from here on in be held with all of those directly concerned.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 328 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. WAMP. Dr. Zirschky, in this moment of silence, you're dismissed.
Mr. WAMP. If we could ask Mr. Ed Limbach, with the American Water Works Company, to please come forward. And if you could, Mr. Limbach, try your best to summarize your testimony as we have a growing number of members of Congress who are coming to testify. And we would like to move them through here as efficiently as possible.
Mr. Limbach. And thank you, Dr. Zirschky, for coming. Some days are better than others.
Mr. LIMBACH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee.
My name is Edward W. Limbach, and I'm Vice President of the American Water Works Company. And we're headquartered in Voorhees, New Jersey.
American Water Works Company wants this committee to be aware that two years ago, it proposed to the Army Corps of Engineers a non-solicited proposal to create a public-private partnership to carry out the capital improvements and the ongoing operation and maintenance of the Washington Aqueduct. To date, the Corps has not responded to our request.
Today, I urge this committee to seriously consider directing the Corps to consider American's proposal. I believe American is uniquely qualified to address the challenges faced by the Washington Aqueduct. Our company is the largest investor owned, state regulated water utility business in the United States. Quite frankly, I'm amazed that two years have gone by and steps have not been taken to solve the financial problems of the aqueduct.
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As we have heard this morning, parts of the aqueduct are reaching the end of their useful lives, and like all water treatment plants, reach a day of reckoning when they need to be upgraded, refurbished and replaced to assure reliability in meeting present and future quality water standards. American is faced with this dilemma each and every year. We determine the plan of work, arrange for the financing and carry out the program. That's our business, and that's what American can do for the aqueduct.
Over the past year, we have met with representatives of the user jurisdictions, members of Congress and staff, and we believe that our proposal addresses the issues that are of concern to different interests. And I'll briefly cover these issues.
First, financial capability. American Water Works Company has demonstrated its capability to finance acquisition and capital improvements. Each year, we finance over $300 million in capital improvements across America. In February this year, the company purchased a water utility in Pennsylvania for $410 million. This record should provide the confidence that American can finance the improvements to the aqueduct.
We hear a lot about the question of who should own the aqueduct. This question of who should own the real estate and the existing facilities is one that can be readily addressed by having Congress direct that the Federal Government retain ownership and extend a long term lease to the entity making the capital improvements and carrying out the management of the operations and maintenance.
At this point, we believe that comparison of costs of the various alternatives is difficult. I can say this, however, that American Water has the know-how to get the capital improvements done at least cost, and will implement cost savings in the operations of the aqueduct. Our experience indicates that our management approach can reduce costs a minimum of 15 percent. We believe that American's proposal is the only option that could be implemented this year. If the Corps is serious about creating a public-private partnership, we see no reason why the program could not be implemented in a matter of months.
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Some worry about oversight and control. Well, the company is subject to regulation and oversight of the Federal EPA, which has primacy for enforcing drinking water regulations in the District. We believe that the user jurisdictions should be active in the public-private partnership, and we therefore guarantee to place on the board of directors of the Potomac American Aqueduct Company a designee of each of the user jurisdictions, with full voting rights.
In summary, American Water Works Company is ready to assume the responsibilities for the aqueduct. All that is needed is a willingness to work out the details. I am pleased to respond to any questions which you have. And I thank you for your attention and the opportunity to present our thoughts.
Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Limbach.
Any questions from the panel?
Ms. NORTON. One or two questions, if I might, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WAMP. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. NORTON. I have no way of knowing or meeting the standard that has been expressed here today, but it is certainly a standard I would endorse, that it's a quality standard and a cost standard. Now, you indicate that you could do the work faster and more cheaply than any of the alternatives. How is it possible for you to do that?
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Mr. LIMBACH. Well, we truly believe
Ms. NORTON. I'm trying to understand it.
Mr. LIMBACH.in a private company, the ability to design the project and move it forward at a rapid pace, the time, time is money. And we do things on a fast track. And we're able to do them cheaper, plus a lot of our technical approaches that we implement into our projects save money also.
Ms. NORTON. Do you have any estimates of the cost of the work that would be needed?
Mr. LIMBACH. No, I do not. I'm familiar, of course, with the current proposals. But beyond that, I do not.
Ms. NORTON. Would you offer employment to the current employees of the Aqueduct?
Mr. LIMBACH. Yes. Our position in talking with the user jurisdictions is that we would guarantee employment of the existing employees for one year.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Just let me say again, for the record, I take no position on this proposal. And I have taken no position on the merits of the Fairfax County proposal. The only thing I had to take a position is that you couldn't have someone coming into your jurisdiction which is the chief user, the water supply at no cost and setting your water rates without your say in it.
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So I think it is worth looking at. All of the proposals are on the table in the most objective fashion. And getting an objective consultant to tell the jurisdictions what is the best quality water for the cheapest price. And I thank the Chairman for his indulgence.
Ms. WAMP. As always, Ms. Norton, you make yourself perfectly clear.
Thank you, Mr. Limbach.
Next we will hear from a variety of members of Congress, and in the Tennessee tradition of first come, first served, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Lipinski, Mr. Flanagan and Mr. Miller will be asked to participate in the first panel. And when we dismiss that panel, we will then entertain other members who are present. So if we could ask those four members to come forward.
Mr. BORSKI. Mr. Chairman? A recommendation, that perhaps when Mr. Hoyer's completed his testimony, and all members, when they complete their testimony, I know they're busy, perhaps we could allow them to leave as soon as their testimony is complete.
Mr. WAMP. Certainly. That's not only acceptable, but if any one of you four need to give your testimony first and you can work it out among the other three, let us know who's first, second, third and fourth, and we will honor your request. It looks like Mr. Hoyer is ready to go. So why don't we start with Mr. Hoyer and we'll work our way down the road.
Page 333 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. Hoyer.
TESTIMONY OF HON. STENY H. HOYER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MARYLAND; HON. LEE H. HAMILTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM INDIANA; HON. GEORGE MILLER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. W. J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM LOUISIANA; HON. WILLIAM J. COYNE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM PENNSYLVANIA; HON. WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ILLINOIS; HON. MICHAEL P. FLANAGAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ILLINOIS; HON. SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS; HON. PETER J. VISCLOSKY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM INDIANA; HON. ROBERT K. DORNAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. JAY KIM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY; HON. ED WHITFIELD, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
KENTUCKY; HON. WAYNE T. GILCHREST, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MARYLAND; HON. ED PASTOR, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ARIZONA; HON. BOB FRANKS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY, ACCOMPANIED BY M. BRIAN MAHER, CHAIRMAN, MAHER TERMINALS, INC.; HON. BILL BAKER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. JACK KINGSTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM GEORGIA; HON. SAM FARR, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. LYNN C. WOOLSEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. BLANCH L. LINCOLN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ARKANSAS; HON. BART STUPAK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MICHIGAN; HON. JAY DICKEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ARKANSAS; HON. ANDREA H. SEASTRAND, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. PHIL ENGLISH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM PENNSYLVANIA; HON. FRANK RIGGS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY JACK B. ALDERSON, RETIRING CEO, HUMBOLDT BAY HARBOR, RECREATION AND CONSERVATION; HON. DAVID WELDON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA, ACCOMPANIED BY RANDY O'BRIEN, COUNTY COMMISSIONER, BREVARD COUNTY FLORIDA; HON. KEN BENTSEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS; HON. GENE GREEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS; HON. MIKE WARD, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM KENTUCKY; HON. FRANK A. LOBIONDO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY; HON. ZOE LOFGREN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; AND HON. BEN CARDIN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MARYLAND
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Mr. HOYER. Well, I'm very enamored with the Tennessee tradition, of course. And I appreciate, Mr. Wamp, your consideration. Mr. Borski and Ms. Norton, Mr. Horn, I'm pleased to be here.
I want to comment today on a couple of projects that are crucial to the environmental and economic health and vitality of Maryland which will obviously be impacted by WRDA. And I want to congratulate this committee for pursuing the authorization act for 1996.
The two projects I'll speak on today exemplify the Corps of Engineers' commitment to environmental sensitivity. This focus, in addition to the responsibilities of navigation and flood damage reduction, has made the Corps of Engineers, in my opinion, a crucial and highly successful Federal presence along the Anacostia River and throughout the Chesapeake Bay and in the Baltimore Harbor.
I might add, parenthetically, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Borski, that the addition of Martin Lancaster, a former colleague of ours, to the Corps' leadership I think will be of great benefit to this committee, as well as to the Corps itself.
In 1987, Mr. Chairman, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the Governor of Maryland and various county executives signed a landmark regional agreement to revive and clean up the Anacostia River. Ms. Norton was a key element and has been since her coming to Congress in pursuing this. This seven mile long river has often been referred to as, ''the forgotten river.'' Since 1993, it has had the unfortunate distinction of being named by the American Rivers Association as, and I quote, ''the most polluted river in America.'' That is the Nation's capital's river, along with the Potomac.
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To me, what makes the deterioration and neglect of the river most egregious is that it is one of our Nation's most scenic and historic urban rivers. And in fact, Mr. Chairman, if you go down that river, there are times when you have no idea you're in the city. And but for the trash, unfortunately, that has been dispersed by too many citizens, tires, old cars, etc., you would think you're on a wild and scenic river.
The work that has taken place on the Anacostia since 1987 is a good example of the strong commitment that exists today between local, state and Federal entities committed to reviving and restoring this river of national significance. In December of 1989, a reconnaissance study was initiated on the Anacostia River and tributaries, environmental restoration projects. This project consists of 13 actions in Maryland and the District of Columbia to restore and develop its wetlands.
In 1994, Mr. Chairman, the Corps finalized the feasibility study for this project, in which over $2 million was spent assessing the need and costs for such a project. Since that time, an additional $900,000 has been spent on pre-construction engineering and design. Mr. Chairman, the Corps and the non-Federal sponsors are now prepared to initiate construction on 9 of the 13 actions. I appear before you today to request the necessary authorizations of $17,144,000 which includes the Federal and non-Federal costs for this very important and worthwhile restoration project. I remain committed to securing the necessary funding for the construction and believe that it is imperative to continue our commitment of nearly $3 million so far to cleaning up the Anacostia.
Mr. Chairman, I'd like to close today by briefly also mentioning a project that I've been associated with for the past few years and remain committed to today. You will be hearing from other members of the Maryland delegation on the need to address the disposal of dredged materials from the Baltimore Harbor. I might indicate, Mr. Chairman, that neither of these projects is in my district. They both, however, impact on the Chesapeake Bay and the economic vitality, of our State, which is why I am so interested in them.
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The Maryland Congressional delegation, the Governor and the leaders of the Maryland General Assembly are united, Mr. Chairman, in their support for the Poplar Island Beneficial Use Project. In the fiscal year 1996 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, the Corps was directed to use Section 204 funding for the development of this project.
The Corps is now ready to move forward on this project, and I encourage this committee to increase the authorization level for the Section 204 program from the current $15 million per year to $50 million.
Now, why that's a very substantial increase, and obviously is just not for Baltimore, Mr. Wamp, you well know, and Mr. Borski knows, particularly from Philadelphia, and other ports, the fact of the matter is that there is a substantial need in our Nation and our economic vitality and competitiveness relies on our ports being able to accept the large tankers that now are in international commerce. This will give the Corps the needed authorization level to move forward on this project, which was included in the President's fiscal year 1997 budget request at the level of $22 million, and address the urgent need to dispose of the dredged materials in the Baltimore Harbor.
Mr. Chairman, I very much appreciate this opportunity to appear before you and this committee, and appreciate your consideration.
Mr. WAMP. Mr. Hoyer, as a Tennessean who has grown to appreciate in just the 14 and a half months I've been here the Chesapeake Bay, last summer my family enjoyed the beauty of Chesapeake Bay, I commend you for your attempts to preserve its natural beauty and water quality.
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The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, but Mr. Miller would like to go, because he's got to rush to a meeting right afterwards.
Mr. WAMP. At the expense of offending Mr. Miller, I'll say that Mr. Lipinski is yielding to the seniority of Mr. Miller. All kidding aside, Mr. Miller, you're recognized.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you, and I want to thank Mr. Lipinski and Mr. Flanagan. We're in the middle of a markup right next door, here. And I will be quick, because on some of these projects, you have already heard testimony. These projects are supported on a bipartisan basis by those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area delegation.
We continue to be concerned and we hope that the committee would support funding for the currently authorized work on the Baldwin Ship Channel. This ship channel is the largest energy shipping channel on the west coast, and vitally important to our refining industry and to the commerce of California and the west and the international commerce of energy.
I would also hope that the committee would consider the resumption of dredging for the Mare Island Straits. These are straits that were maintained by the Corps over many decades because the Mare Island Shipyard, which is now scheduled to close on April 1st. But these straits continue to be terribly important to the City of Vallejo and to commerce in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Along those regards, both the dredging programs, if the proposal for upland disposal project or a re-use project is the best alternative from a standpoint of economics and environment, then the Corps of Engineers should be allowed to pursue these alternatives on the same cost sharing basis as ocean disposal of dredged material. The Corps should be allowed to include economic and environmental benefits in assessing the full benefits and costs of different options. This allows us to have some flexibility in addressing disposal problems, which again, this committee is very familiar with and has been very, very supportive.
And finally, Mr. Chairman, let me again reiterate that these projects are supported by Congressman Baker, Congressman Riggs, Congressman Fazio, myself, who surround this area of the Sacramento River and San Francisco Bay. Finally, I would hope that the committee would go very slow and look at the alternatives to the suggestion of the building of the Auburn Dam. As you know, Mr. Chairman, this is a billion dollar dam for which there are far less costly alternatives that should be explored by this committee.
And if in fact we are going to engage the Federal Government in this flood control project, we ought to look at those alternatives before we commit what is not only controversial, but a huge amount of Federal monies which I think can better be remedied by the alternatives that have been proposed to this committee.
And I want to thank you very much for your time and that of the committee, and thank you again, my two colleagues. And we have our written statement submitted for the record.
Page 339 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. WAMP. Mr. Miller, the subcommittee is sensitive to both sides of the Auburn Dam issue, and will be sensitive to your concerns and requests in the future.
And begging the indulgence of Mr. Flanagan and Mr. Lipinski, I understand that Mr. Hamilton also has a markup. Does the panel allow for Mr. Hamilton to go forward?
Mr. HAMILTON. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I apologize to my colleagues. I'm right across the hall, and we are engaged in an important matter right at the moment, and I apologize, and I thank them for letting me go ahead. I, too, will try to be brief.
I'm asking for $34 million to authorize the construction phase of the Ohio River Greenway project. Secondly, I am asking that the Huntington Lake in northeastern Lake be renamed in honor of Congressman Ed Roush. To take up the second point first, I served with him for a number of years, a very distinguished member of the Congress. He did a marvelous job, a superb legislature. Former Congresswoman Jill Long had a provision, I think, in the bill to rename Huntington Lake in his honor. For some reason, that didn't get through. I'm simply renewing that request, and I hope the committee will honor that request, because it would be fitting recognition for him.
With regard to my first request, this committee has been supportive of the planning and design work on the Greenway. I won't go through the details on that. I'm sure you're familiar with it. That work is basically completed. We're ready now to go ahead with the construction phase of it, cost shared on a 50-50 basis. I am submitting to the committee the amounts of contributions by the local communities, the towns of New Albany, Clarksville and Jeffersonville.
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And I think that that is self-explanatory. It's a very high priority for the State of Indiana, for these communities. This is one of the great natural assets of the United States, the Ohio River. And the Greenway project would greatly enhance it and make it available for thousands and thousands of visitors to that area. I strongly urge you to approve it, and I thank the committee for listening to me. And I ask that you accept my statement in full.
Thank you again, my colleagues, for letting me barge in.
Mr. WAMP. The Chair will not recognize the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Borski, thank you for the opportunity to testify. Today I am joined in my testimony by my fellow Chicagoan and good friend, Congressman Michael Flanagan.
I am here to express my support for the Army Corps of Engineers' Chicago Shoreline Protection project. It is critical to the environmental and economic well-being of Chicago that this Corps project be included in the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. Chicago's lakefront along Lake Michigan requires protection to prevent flooding and storm damage. The existing shoreline protection system was built between 1910 and 1930 and has outlived its design life by more than 30 years. Significant deterioration of the existing shore structure is obvious.
Page 341 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 In its 1994 report to the then Public Works and Transportation Committee, the Corps confirmed that more than one-third of Chicago's shoreline revetments are in imminent danger of collapse. Federal authorization of the Chicago Shoreline Protection project is necessary to prevent the collapse of eight miles of the Chicago lakefront. Taking no action will result in the loss of over $5 billion worth of irreplaceable public property and infrastructure, including Lake Shore Drive.
In addition, the project will provide critically needed protection for the 79th Street South Water Filtration Plant, which pumps safe drinking water to 2.5 million people in the City of Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
On both Tuesday and Wednesday of this very week, high winds caused Lake Michigan waters to overtop the current deteriorated structures, flooding Lake Shore Drive. Hundreds of thousands of commuters were forced off this Federal highway and had to seek alternate routes, where they encountered long delays. In fact, Lake Shore Drive is closed again this very day.
I would like to show you, and I believe that you have them up at the table, some pictures that demonstrate the extensive damage caused by the waves overtopping the current structure and flooding Lake Shore Drive, a major traffic artery for downtown Chicago.
The Chicago Shoreline Protection project will rebuild an even more permanent shore protection structure with new design dimensions which will stop Lake Michigan waves from overtopping onto Lake Shore Drive. The project area and related facilities support more than 8,500 jobs, providing $287 million in lakefront generated revenue and sales.
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In addition, Chicago's accessible shoreline and well-developed lakefront park system attracts worldwide businesses, stimulating not only the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois' economy, but also the national economy. The national benefits derived from Chicago's shoreline far exceed the Federal contribution toward protecting it.
The Chicago Shoreline Protection Project was included in the Water Resources Development Act of 1994, which passed the House of Representatives but was not considered by the Senate. It is imperative that this project be authorized again in the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. Major reconstruction of the collapsing structure is needed to preserve the integrity of Chicago's shoreline. This project is designed to prevent further storm damage and loss of valuable land and infrastructure.
Mr. Chairman, I now yield the balance of my time to my very good friend from Chicago, Congressman Flanagan, whose district actually abuts a great deal of the area we are talking about.
Mr. FLANAGAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Borski, for letting my distinguished colleague, Mr. Lipinski, and I come before you today.
We're taking advantage of this opportunity to address the subcommittee concerning the authorization of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, and especially the need to include the Chicago Shoreline Protection Project.
As my distinguished colleague, Mr. Lipinski, has indicated, the passage of this year's WRDA bill is critical, not only to the City of Chicago but to the Nation, as this legislation will permit the Civil Works program to continue the efficient operation, maintenance and management of the Nation's navigation, flood damage reduction, and multiple-purpose storm damage projects and the restoration of important resources, and especially those at risk in Chicago.
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As you know, the Senate WRDA bill includes an authorization of $204 million for the shoreline protection for Chicago, including the reconstruction of the breakwater which protects the 79th Street Water Filtration Plant. Parenthetically, that is the second largest water pumping plant in the world, second only to the Olive Park Water Filtration Plant, also in Chicago, which is the first largest water pumping plant in the world. We process a lot of water in Chicago for the surrounding suburbs. I think it's almost 8 million people enjoy Lake Michigan water because of these two water filtration plants in Chicago.
Language is expected to be added on the Senate floor which would reimburse the City of Chicago for the Federal cost share of the reconstruction of the breakwater. This additional language is identical to the emergency resolution that the Transportation and Infrastructure committee approved last autumn.
As documented by the U.S. Army Corps' feasibility report, under the heading ''without project conditions,'' storm induced wave action will result in average annual damages of approximately $51 million. This does not include the cost of repairing roads or embankments or traffic delays as a result of the structural damage due to flooding and subsequent shutdown for repairs.
As has been demonstrated in other studies, these damages can be quite significant on the heavily traveled Lake Shore Drive. Through time, the propensity for a storm event to threaten Lake Shore Drive vehicular movements will increase, with attendant increase in damage and costs for cleanup and repairs. Right now, as Mr. Lipinski talked about in Chicago, high winds over the last two days have been incredible. And Lake Shore Drive is closed because of the rubble that is blown up by the lake onto the highway itself.
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Flooding and storm damage will continue to happen to Lake Shore Drive, a Federal highway, until the failing protection structures are reconstructed. With this said, I respectfully urge this subcommittee to include the Chicago Shoreline Protection Project in the WRDA bill and to take such action as necessary to enact the legislation this Congress.
I thank Congressman Lipinski for giving me a few minutes of his time to talk, and I thank the committee for your indulgence and attention.
Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Flanagan.
If there are no questions from the members, we thank this panel for participating and giving your input, dismiss this panel, and would ask that the five members, I believe, that are in the audience, Mr. Ortiz of Texas, Mr. Whitfield of Kentucky, Mr. Visclosky of Indiana, Mr. Tauzin of Louisiana, Mr. Coyne of Pennsylvania, please come forward. And in an exercise of bipartisanship and civility, please ask each other who has the most pressing needs, so that anyone who has a markup or needs to move quickly can testify first.
Mr. Ortiz of Texas, and move on from there. Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Borski, ranking member, and members of the subcommittee. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to express my strong support for the issues of great import to the 27th Congressional District of Texas.
Mr. Chairman, trade between Mexico and the United States has increased dramatically over the past 10 years and is projected to continue to increase under the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA's future success depends on the development of a transportation infrastructure capable of carrying millions of tons of cargo between the United States, Mexico and Canada with competitive rates and assurance that cargoes will arrive timely and safely.
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For this reason, the United States and Mexico have initiated programs to upgrade their transportation infrastructure along the border. Among other things, the United States is in the process of developing the I-69 corridor from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. U.S. Highway 77, which connects with the intermodal facilities in Brownsville and Corpus Christi, was included as one of the routes in south Texas to be part of this high priority corridor.
This distinction is very important, since about 85 percent of the cargo shipped between Mexico and the United States moves by rail and truck. As you can expect, this much traffic causes considerable congestion along the border at customers and agricultural inspection stations.
Mr. Chairman, in the future, facilities which encourage and accommodate cargo shipment by water, such as the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, will help relieve this congestion and lessen its impact on the environment and the safety of our citizens. This waterway transports 80 million tons of product annually and approximately 2 million tons are transported between Corpus Christi and Brownsville.
The State of Tamaulipas, Mexico, has designed and contracted a coastal waterway very much like the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. This Mexican waterway is known as CITSA. The project will change the economy of the entire region and allow Mexico to more easily move its domestic coastal shipments across between Mexico and the United States through the Intracoastal Waterway.
Page 346 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 To take advantage of this project's potential under NAFTA, the U.S. Intracoastal Canal must be connected to CITSA. The Port of Brownsville supports this position and is proposing to dredge a connecting canal from the Port of Brownsville Ship Channel to the Rio Grande river.
The Port of Brownsville has property in this area which it is willing to make available for the project and is willing to assist the Army Corps of Engineers with inspection, customs, and immigration facilities; areas for dredge material disposal; environmental studies; and traffic analyses. Port officials have met with the Corps of Engineers to discuss this project, and the Corps has assigned a project manager.
Mr. Chairman and subcommittee members, I respectfully request that the subcommittee authorize this connecting channel as part of the existing Brazos Island Harbor, Texas Brownsville Channel project in the Water Resources Development Act of 1996.
Lastly, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I ask for the subcommittee's support for a project modification provision to the Water Resource Development Act of 1996. The purpose of the provision is to include Rincon Canal as part of the Port of Corpus Christi Channel for Federal maintenance purposes. Rincon Canal extends directly from the federally-built Corpus Christi Channel to the Rincon Industrial Park, and is a multi-user, public purpose waterway. It is my understanding that the Corps of Engineers District Office in Galveston supports this step.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, for your consideration of this matter. And I would like to include some other material in my testimony for the record.
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Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. Whitfield of Kentucky.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. I appreciate very much this opportunity to discuss with you a matter of great urgency in my State of Kentucky, as well as the entire inland waterway system.
I'm pleased to appear in support of your authorizing $467 million for the Kentucky Lock Addition on the Tennessee River located in the State of Kentucky. The Corps of Engineers feasibility study completed in 1992 determined that the current chamber at Kentucky Lake is drastically too small to handle a modern, 15 barge tow and results in one of the highest transit times in the inland waterway system. Maintenance of this existing lock causes delays that will exceed 150 hours and cost up to $250 million to the barge industry alone, in the years 2009 and 2010.
Recognizing this fact, the Corps recommended the building of a new 110 foot by 1200 foot lock on the Tennessee River. The project has a benefit to cost ratio of 2.4 to 1, and was included in the House-passed Water Resources Development Act of 1994. The fiscal years 1994, 1995 and 1996 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Acts included a total of $6 million for design activities and geotechnical explorations.
I cannot overstate the importance of this project to the entire inland waterway system, from Pennsylvania all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The authorization of the project is the most sound economic and operational fix to the demands on this old lock. Authorization is critical because of the unacceptable congestion that will occur on the existing lock if we do not authorize and start construction of the new lock. Until the new lock can be brought into service, continued growth in the region will be impeded by mounting congestion at Kentucky Lock. The entire Tennessee Valley is constrained by the inadequate lock size at this location, and commodities from 21 states are transported through this waterway system. Traffic is projected to grow from the current 36 million tons in 1992 to over 52 million tons by the year 2000.
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It is important also to note that the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have formed an agreement, have entered into an agreement, that grants the responsibility for the design and construction of the new lock to the Corps. On January 18, 1991, then-TVA board chairman Marvin Runyon wrote to the Acting Secretary of the Army, Civil Works, recommending that the Corps request Congressional authorization and funding for the new lock, as well as design and construction, and TVA is going to retain the responsibility for technical assistance, review and approval of the new lock's final design, plans and construction phases.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with the committee. I want to stress the importance of this authorization, not just for Kentucky, but for all shippers in the industry, all the way from Pennsylvania all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
So thank you for your time and your consideration.
Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Whitfield.
Mr. Coyne of Pennsylvania.
Mr. COYNE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I first of all want to thank you for allowing me to testify before the subcommittee, with you and Congressman Borski and the other members of the committee. And I'd like to ask this subcommittee today to include language in the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 to modify the existing authorization for the Saw Mill Run flood control project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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The frequent flooding of a waterway in my district known as Saw Mill Run is a pressing problem for Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities. The Corps of Engineers has been studying options for a flood control project along Saw Mill Run for more than 20 years. In 1986, Congress authorized a $7.8 million Corps of Engineers flood control project along Sawmill Run. And I want to thank the subcommittee for its support at that time.
For a number of reasons, the project was delayed for some time. But now the Corps is ready to proceed with the project, and the necessary local support for the project has been secured. The original authorization, however, will no longer cover the entire cost of the project and the Corps of Engineers estimates that now the project would cost $12.8 million. Consequently, the existing authorization needs to be modified.
The current version of S. 640 contains the necessary modification to the existing authorization. I would be grateful if you would include language similar to the language in Section 102(h) of Senate Bill 640 in your bill when the subcommittee starts marking up its version of the Water Resources Development Act. I am pleased to note that the Corps of Engineers supports this project and that the Administration has proposed funding for the project in the fiscal year 1997 budget request that it submitted to Congress on March 19th.
On behalf of the people of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, I ask for your help on this important project. And once again, thank you for allowing me to testify before you here today.
Mr. WAMP. Thank you, Mr. Coyne.
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The Chair recognizes Mr. Visclosky of Indiana.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I want to thank you, Mr. Borski and the other members of the committee for allowing me the opportunity to testify, and ask that my entire statement be entered into the record.
Mr. WAMP. Without objection.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. The first matter I want to highlight for the subcommittee is the need to modify the Little Calumet River project cost. The Little Calumet River flood control project authorization should be updated to allow construction to continue at a total cost of $151 million. Current estimated project costs exceed the Section 902 maximum project cost by $15 million. The new estimated Federal share is $109 million, and the new estimated non-Federal share is $42 million. The Army Corps supports this increase.
Second, there is a real need to expand upon an ongoing Army Corps project by developing a watershed management plan for the Deep River Basin, which is comprised of the 282 acre Lake George, Turkey Creek, and Deep River in Lake County, Indiana. The Army Corps is currently facilitating the sediment cleanup of Lake George. Expanding the Lake George project to include a comprehensive approach to watershed management for the Deep River Basin would save taxpayer dollars and alleviate the need for a costly redredging of Lake George. The Army Corps estimates that $400,000 would be needed to successfully complete a study of the Deep River Basin.
Third, I am requesting an Army Corps' study for a project to combat erosion and degradation of the Beauty Creek Watershed in Valparaiso and unincorporated Porter County, Indiana. The estimated total cost of this project is $3,735,000; $45,000 of which would be required to complete the feasibility study of the proposed project. The Beauty Creek Watershed is located in a rapidly growing area and runoff from local development has aggravated the degradation of Beauty Creek and its tributaries. The City of Valparaiso is in the process of spending $500,000 to reconstruct a badly eroded section of the watershed.
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Fourth, I would like to address the devastating flooding problems faced by the residents of the Black Oak neighborhood in Gary, Indiana. Black Oak encompasses approximately six square miles and has a population of 10,000. This low-income, predominantly minority area has had to bear more than its share of environmental and economic injustice over the years. The lack of both sanitary and storm sewers, an inherently high water table, and a primitive drainage system, comprised of a few ditches that empty into the Little Calumet River, have contributed to chronic and significant backup of stormwater in yards, driveways and residential ditches.
In addition, the high water levels have rendered most of the septic systems in the area inoperable. Add to this a history of contamination from an adjacent Superfund site, and you have living conditions that are by any measure substandard.
I request an authorization for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an investigation of how the water problems of Black Oak would best be remedied. It is estimated that $15 million would be required to completely address Black Oak's needs, $700,000 of which would be required to finance the Corps' study of the area.
Finally, I have long been an advocate of sound management of contaminated harbor sediments, especially in the Great Lakes. In Indiana Harbor, a layer of oily sludge, heavy metals and other chemical contaminants, up to 20 feet deep in places, harms public health and impedes commercial and recreational uses of the waterway. Mr. Chairman, we have no option but to forge ahead with the development of sediment remediation technology that will aid us in cleaning up our freshwater and saltwater harbors.
Page 352 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 The Water Resources Development Act has historically contained language regarding the demonstration of innovative technologies at the New York/New Jersey Harbor to aid in the management of contaminated marine sediments. Full scale demonstrations of remediation technologies for freshwater sediment should be added to the bill.
Mr. Chairman, again, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr. WAMP. Thank you for your testimony, Mr. Visclosky.
And the Chair recognizes, if he's ready, the gentleman from California, Congressman Dornan.
Mr. DORNAN. Thank you.
Thank you, Chairman Wamp and Mr. Borski, for the opportunity to testify on behalf of the citizens of Orange County, California, concerning their need for adequate flood protection from the generally tame but sometimes quite wild Santa Ana River. Specifically, I've come to request that the Santa Ana River Mainstem Project, which was authorized as part of the Water Resources Development Act, WRDA, of 1986, be modified so that the non-Federal share of costs assigned to flood control is limited to 25 percent. You will be hearing from Bill Zaun, the Director of Public Works for the County of Orange, about the specifics of this badly-needed proposal.
Mr. Chairman, if not amended the WRDA 1986 will result in non-Federal sponsors of the Santa Ana River Control Flood Project paying 71.5 percent for the Prado Dam raising, because of the high cost of the lands surrounding the dam. This, I believe, is well beyond the intention of Congress in establishing the local cost sharing requirement in WRDA 1986.
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In the five years since the execution of the local cooperation agreement, the Federal share of the project costs has decreased $195 million, while the non-Federal share has increased nearly $82 million. The proposed modification of the cost sharing formula for the Santa Ana River Mainstem Project, which I support, of course, would result in a 25 percent non-Federal share for the raising of the Prado Dam. This is consistent with the policy of the Corps of Engineers in correcting deficiencies on existing flood control projects.
Given that the raising and enlarging of Prado Dam, in conjunction with the other elements of the Santa Ana Mainstem Project, will merely restore the level of elements of protection previously intended, and authorized, to be afforded to the heavily populated areas of Orange County, a modification to the WRDA 1986 cost sharing is certainly warranted.
Mr. Chairman and other committee members, the raising of Prado Dam is a critical feature of the Federal project that will ultimately protect millions of residents living in the Orange County flood plain. Without an adjustment to the cost sharing formula, this feature cannot move forward and residents will be left without the flood protection they must have. For these reasons, I ask that you give your utmost consideration to amending the cost sharing formula for the project. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your gracious consideration of this request.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much.
Mr. TAUZIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Randy Newman wrote a great song, beautiful song. It goes, Louisiana, they're trying to wash us away, they're trying to wash us away. It's a great song, because it's true. We drain 40, I think 43 states, right through Louisiana, mostly coming down the Louisiana-Mississippi Delta, and the other coming down the Atchafalaya River, which is the other great river delta. That's coming down on us. The good Lord sends us about 90 inches of rain a year.
I know some of you get 4 inches, you think that's a lot, we get 20 in an afternoon in my district occasionally. And on top of that, the sea is encroaching. We're losing about 30 to 40 square miles a year of land in my district. And if we don't stop it soon, I'll be representing fish instead of people.
And so I need your help. I need help to save my district, to save my coast, to deal with this massive amount of water that comes down on it. And so I want to mention a few projects that we've recommended for the bill and urge your consideration of them. Some of them are ongoing projects. The first is the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee. If you know New Orleans, you know it's in a crescent of the river. It's protected on one side with levees around Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne, and it's not protected on the west bank, wide open to the Gulf.
You go down to the west bank FEMA office, you find out they're predicting 27 feet of water in New Orleans, in New Orleans, where a million people live, 27 feet of water in a category four storm, that comes up through Battatary Bay, because it's unprotected. We're desperately rushing to build protection for those folks and the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee is a key part of it.
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Port Fourchon is in my district, Fourchon is a French word meaning fork. It's the fork of the mouth of Bayou Lafourche, which is my home parish. We don't have counties, we have parishes. We do things a little different in Louisiana.
In Port Fourchon, it is the jumping off place for all the activity in that area that develops all the oil and gas resources, deep water resources, for this Nation in the central Gulf, where much of, in fact, the only offshore dynamic program is going on in America to produce oil and gas desperately needed by Americans. Port Fourchon, part of our project, 2.2 to 1 ratio, is to indeed have an access channel for them. That is again an ongoing project. We're asking indeed that draft language be submitted to continue it being included.
Houma Navigational Canal lock. In Houma, Louisiana, the biggest metro area in my district, there is a thing called the Intercoastal Canal and the Houma Navigational Canal, they meet. The Navigational Canal is now the entry point for most of the salt water intrusion. We have ongoing Corps efforts right now to solve that whole problem of drainage through this area and water flooding and intrusion. Everybody agrees, the Corps agrees, the first step is to get a lock into that channel to stop the salt water.
We are now having emergency problems with no fresh water, drinking. Fresh water comes from that channel. And emergency problems with about 200,000 acres that are about to be lost if we don't begin immediately the process of lock construction. We're asking that be updated.
We've met with new Assistant Secretary Martin Lancaster, a former member of our body, recently, to talk about it. He's well aware of it. We've informed him we're going to make a big effort to see if we can't update the construction and engineering planning for this site. Because everybody agrees it's the first step in that major process.
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Grand Isle is the only human inhabited island in Louisiana, in my district. It is, like Randy Newman said, washing away. The Corps is desperately trying to build breakwaters and levees. They've left sections left undone. The sections that are undone are now eroding faster, the flooding is increasing. Grand Isle is a barrier island, one of many along the State of Louisiana that is being lost. As the barrier islands go, the salt water intrusion and damage to the coast increases.
If you love the environment, Sherry, as I know you do, to see the loss of all that incredible estuarian land, where so much occurs for the good of our environment, for our fisheries and everything else, it is a tragedy. I promise you, one day I'll take you to see it. It is going to make you literally cry to see it. And to go out every day and see it washing away.
We're trying to keep those barrier islands together. Grand Isle is a critical component in that design.
The Atchafalaya River, as I told you, is one of two of the river systems that drain the 40 some odd states that come through Louisiana with the drainage of water. The Atchafalaya is the system that is not, is literally building land. It's the only one. The Mississippi River is, the delta area, is losing land. It's sinking and going down. The Atchafalaya is building, but in the process it's flooding the dickens out of Morgan City. And because we've channeled the water in the Atchafalaya, we've got huge backwater flooding problems. The Corps is recognizing that. I'm asking you to give us the authority to do something with the Corps in terms of these backwater problems.
Page 357 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Now, there are a number of other, smaller ones. Those are the major ones. I've got testimony before you detailing the other smaller ones. But I would urge your consideration again. We're catching it from the north in drainage, we're catching it from on high with enormous rainfall amounts, we're catching it from the south. We are truly, Louisiana, they're trying to wash us away. And we would not like to be washed away, if we could help it, sir.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much.
Now, Mr. Pallone.
Mr. PALLONE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and also Mr. Borski, for giving me the opportunity to testify today on the reauthorization of WRDA.
Every time I come back to, I call it Public Works, I guess it's not that any more, I keep remembering the time that I was here and the New Jersey members who were chairmen in the past, who supported me. So I appreciate being here.
I'm going to summarize my statement and basically talk about three issues. I'd like to enter the whole statement into the record, with your permission.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Without objection, so ordered. And I would like to advise all that your entire statements will appear in the record, and we do appreciate your willingness to summarize. We've got a long day, with many members. Thank you.
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Mr. PALLONE. Let me talk about three issues, as I mentioned. One is Cliffwood Beach. First, I'd like to support the inclusion of language in the House WRDA bill authorizing periodic beach nourishment of Cliffwood Beach in New Jersey. This was a previously authorized project to provide for beach replenishment. It was never constructed and was eventually de-authorized. But it is important, there is severe flooding and beach erosion in that area. And there's language in the Senate version of the WRDA bill that was put in by Mr. Lautenberg, Senator Lautenberg. And I would basically like to attach that language in this bill here.
The second issue is the Army Corps policy with respect to shore protection, flood control, navigational dredging. I'm sure you're aware, we've talked before, about the Administration's continued efforts to curb the Army Corps' role in these functions. And I of course totally oppose what the President has proposed in his budget once again, which is to essentially get the Federal Government out of this, or at least diminish the Federal role. Congress defeated a similar proposal last year by passing the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill.
Last week, I sent a letter to the President that was signed by 50 members of Congress urging the President not to include a similar proposal in his fiscal year 1997 budget. I'd like to submit a copy of that for the record. Many of you on the committee signed on to that bill. Obviously, these projects are critical to the national economy as well as state and local economies. I strongly believe that without continued Federal participation in these projects, they're simply not going to be done. And I think it makes no sense to suggest that somehow the states are going to have the expertise or engineering design otherwise, or the funding, as has been proposed by the President in his budget.
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So I'm strongly urging the committee, the subcommittee as well as the full committee, to maintain the Corps' traditional role and to include that in the reauthorization.
And the third issue I'd like to discuss is dredging. Mr. Visclosky touched upon it. This is the issue of contaminated sediments and the need to dredge and dispose of these sediments. It's an issue of national significance. In my district, we have about six miles off the cost, not far from where I live, the Mud Dump Site, where dredged materials are disposed of for the New York-New Jersey harbor. I am pleased with the fact that the EPA has increased the stringency for what can be dumped there. We call it Category II materials. Because I think that that means that less and less dioxin and heavy metal laden material can be dumped in the ocean.
But Mr. Chairman and Mr. Borski, I would like us to get out of the ocean completely. It's been a longstanding cause for me as well as my predecessor, Jim Howard. And I think that the way to do that is for this committee to help us through WRDA in basically funding confined disposal alternatives to ocean dumping. This week, I introduced a bill that would provide for Federal local cost sharing of confined dredge material disposal. It basically broadens the definition of O&M so that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund can be used for that purpose to pay for the Federal share.
I understand my colleague Mr. Franks is a member of this committee and has introduced very similar legislation. We hope we can work together and put this in the WRDA bill. I don't want to go into the details of why that's important, I'm sure you understand why.
But a second bill that I introduced this week deals with the contamination. I was involved in the last WRDA bill in 1992, where we put in authorization for a decontamination study project in the Port of New York and New Jersey, in Section 405. This bill I've introduced this week would authorize $10 million for the existing decontamination project in the Port and basically allow us to move into operational scale decontamination studies.
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Again, this is in the Senate bill. This is something that my colleague, Bob Franks, supports. And he's also going to introduce legislation that's similar. We'd like to see it in the House bill.
The last thing I want to mention on decontamination is this concept of contamination reduction planning. I don't have legislation right now, but I'd like to at least think about it for the future. I believe that with adequate data collection and monitoring, we can effectively hone in on problematic contaminants at their source. And I'd like to think of some way that, in the WRDA bill, we can address contamination at its source, so that we don't have this decontamination of the harbor that we have to clean up and spend taxpayers money.
And I thank you for the opportunity. I tried to sum this up. I've talked to many of you before about this, and I'm sure that we can work together to accomplish this.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much.
Now we go to Mr. Kim.
Mr. KIM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to ask unanimous consent to submit my written statement.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Without objection, we welcome that.
Mr. KIM. Along with the statement made by Mr. Zaun, representing Orange County, as my official testimony.
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Thank you again. And Mr. Dornan has already mentioned to you that I want to talk about the Santa Ana Project, which consists of Prado Dam and also a channel involving this project. Prado Dam was built in 1941. Since then, Corps of Engineers has not really properly maintained it.
As a result, silt has been deposited. So much silt that the original capacity of a 200 year storm has beenreduced to only a 70 year flood, which is a tremendous reduction in capacity. So what we're trying to do is raise the dam higher by 25 feet, to increase the capacity.
While the orgininal cost to raise Prado Dam was about $450 million, now the local cost share is totally unfair. Orange County is now paying 70 percent of the total cost. As you know, the original intent of the law was 25 percent. What I'm asking you is to go back to the original intent, go back to 25 percent sharing rather than 70 percent sharing by the local government, which is totally unfair.
Now, the second project is the portion of a small section of Highway 71, which is about a two mile stretch. That highway will be submerged into water after Prado Dam is raised. And that particular project has to either be relocated or leveed.
The Corps of Engineers said they do not have the authority to participate in this particular project. I believe this is a non-controversial project, and I hope that you will be able to include this project in your bill. It is a very important project, otherwise, it's going to be totally submerged into water.
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Again, I'd like to thank you very much, and I will submit the statement.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. And I appreciate my colleague summarizing his remarks. We will appreciate all of our colleagues so doing.
Next, another member of the committee, Mr. Gilchrest.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to submit my full statement into the record and also a member, one of my colleagues from Maryland, Ben Cardin, I have his statement, and I'd like to submit his statement for the record.
What I'd like to do, Mr. Chairman, is show you a map of the Chesapeake Bay to give you some perspective on what we're trying to do here. This is an aerial photograph that I used when we were discussing the wetlands issue in this room. If you look right here you see the City of Baltimore. If you look down a little further to the south, you see Washington, D.C.
Now, Baltimore is one of the finest ports in the country, and certainly one of the finest ports on the east coast. One of the problems we have in the port of Baltimore is the Chesapeake Bay, the average depth is about 20 feet. Now, the ships coming into the Port of Baltimore come from the C&D Canal and they come from the Atlantic Ocean up the Chesapeake Bay. One of the problems we have is keeping the port dredged, which we do on an annual basis. But one of the problems that we see around the country is what to do with the dredged spoils.
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So what we're trying to do here is match economic gain, which is about, if you consider everything that the port does for the State, up to $4 billion of cash flow a year with the problem of trying to find some environmentally safe way to put the dredged material. Now, I'm not going to give you the absolute solution. But one of the pieces of the puzzle will be to take the dredged material from the approach channels, and it's about 125 miles of approach channels to the port, down to an area known as Poplar Island. Poplar Island used to be about 1,000 acres. It's down to just tiny fragments at this point.
Now, none of this is cost free, and it will cost a little bit of money from the Federal Government. But if you consider that the Federal GOVERNMENT gets about $400 million a year in customs fees from activity at the port, it's a pretty good investment. What I'd like to do very briefly is to give you some idea of the importance economically of the port to the State of Maryland.
If you look a the direct jobs of the port, it would be about 18,000. If you look at the overall economic impact of the Port of Baltimore to the State of Maryland, that's about 60,000 jobs, which is over $2 billion a year. If you look at the business revenue directly related to the port, that's about $1,200,000,000 a year, state and local taxes takes in over $150 million annually, and like I said, customs receipts equal about $400 million on an annual basis. So if you put those figures together, you have about a $4 billion cash flow to the State of Maryland on an annual basis.
The problem with the Port of Baltimore is we're looking for some place to put the dredged material. What we've decided upon as a piece of the puzzle is this place called Poplar Island, that used to be about 1,000 acres, and it's only tiny fragments now.
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Now, if we can put 40 million cubic yards of material on Poplar Island, it will take about 20 years to 25 years to do that. The cost of that is going to be about $300 million over the 25 year life of the program. But if you consider $300 million over 25 years, to an annual revenue coming to the Government of $400 million, at a minimum, and a cash flow in the State of $4 billion a year, you're looking at well over $20 billion to $40 billion over the life of the project being generated in economic activity. So it's a small investment for a major economic boom.
What we want to do when we rebuild the island is to achieve two things, a positive economic impact on the State and the local government, and we're going to enhance habitat for wildlife. Now, I bring in wildlife here, because if we look at the State of Maryland now, and we're trying to do the infrastructure programs to enhance economic development. We've seen the powerful economic development from this project to the State as a result of the activities surrounding the port.
And if we look at the State of Maryland, especially the area around the Chesapeake Bay, the amount of money that we get from recreational activities into the State on an annual basis, mostly as a direct result of activities surrounding the wildlife that visits the Chesapeake Bay, we're looking at another $2 billion, on an annual basis.
So I would like to implore the committee to use their good judgment at this particular program at Poplar Island, which we are asking for now a $50 million direct authorization for Poplar Island, to help with the structure to contain the dredged material so it can be a greater benefit, because it won't be washed away. And I'll conclude with this, Mr. Chairman.
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You have a tool for beneficial dredged program from the Corps of Engineers. It was authorized last year at $15 million, and $2.5 million was appropriated from the Appropriations Committee. That's $2.5 million for the entire country of beneficial dredged material programs. What we are asking, since this is a positive program for the rest of the country as well, that the 204 program be funded at $50 million.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the time and look forward to working with you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you, and we're sure you'll help guide us.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman would yield for one second. I didn't know if Mr. Cardin, very briefly, if that would be allowed.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Yes, only on the condition you'll be very brief.
Mr. CARDIN. I'll be very brief. I agree with everything that Wayne has said. We support very strongly the authorization of the program at $50 million. I know Mr. Bateman also knows the work we've done in the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland, again, could be a National model for environment-enhancing dredge spoil disposal projects, and we would urge the committee to so act.
Page 366 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. I appreciate the brevity.
Mr. KINGSTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm here on behalf of Tybee Island, Georgia, essentially Tybee Island, beach erosion, no beach, no economy, no economy, no tourists. Tybee is a town that goes from 2,000 to 20,000 people in the summer time. And having the beach there is the entire essence of the community.
Last year, beach erosion money ran out. They had the 1971 Federal participation program that has now expired. They do match the money 50 percent. And the Federal share of it is just over $4.6 million. But again, it is matched by state and local funds.
I'll submit my statement for the record, and thank you for you consideration.
Mr. BATEMAN [assuming Chair]. Thank you very much, Mr. Kingston. We appreciate your excellent summary.
Mr. Dickey. I'd be happy to hear from Mrs. Lincoln.
Mrs. LINCOLN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the subcommittee, for allowing me to appear before you today. I can testify also to the beauty of Mr. Gilchrest's district. I visit it quite frequently.
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I'm here today on behalf of two projects that are vitally important to the First Congressional District of Arkansas. I'd like to say from the outset that I applaud this subcommittee's work on looking for ways to protect, conserve and more efficiently utilize the Nation's water resources. You've done an excellent job and I've enjoyed working with you through the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The use of our water resources is perhaps the most fundamental of natural resource issues, both from an environmental and an economic perspective. The First Congressional District of Arkansas is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country. We are the Nation's leading domestic producer of rice, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the U.S. production. We also rank third in soybean production, sixth in cotton and seventeenth in wheat. So obviously, water is a vital element of agriculture production. But it's also important to the transportation of bulk commodities, either to market or to the extensive processing infrastructure in our State.
We are also the Nation's second largest steel producer, which most people don't think of when they think of the First District of Arkansas. And we depend on our waterways for this industry as well.
The projects that I bring before your subcommittee for authorization are critically linked the industries that I've just mentioned, and have important environmental and economic benefits. The first project that I bring to your attention is the Grand Prairie Bayou Meto project. The Grand Prairie lies in the heart of Arkansas' rice production and is also the home to a large migratory waterfowl population. It's neighbor to the largest timbered wetland of North America. The alluvial aquifer that supports this area is rapidly being depleted. I know my colleague, Mr. Dickey, will speak on that after I finish.
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Many farmer have lost their water supply and the aquifer is consolidating and losing its recharge capability. Unless something is done, it's estimated that by 2015, water will not be available for over 400,000 acres of irrigated cropland, causing irreparable economic damages to that area. Local project sponsors have been working with the State and Federal officials to address this problem and have developed a unique solution that I believe has national significance for other regions of the country that are experiencing the same declining groundwater resources.
Working with the Corps of Engineers through a study funded by the Congress for the past three years, the Corps of Engineers and the state and local sponsors have developed a demonstration project for the Grand Prairie portion of the area that will allow the aquifer to replenish, while supporting agricultural production and preserving wildlife habitat. This project would provide for the construction of on-site water reservoirs that would store surface water drawn from the White River via a system of canals, pipelines and existing streams for use during peak irrigation periods. This will significantly decrease the use of the aquifer and allow it to recharge.
The project also has a strong wildlife conservation element developed under the auspices of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. It provides for annual flooding of the rice fields. The on-farm portion of the Bayou Meto project is currently being planned by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, but needs the Corps of Engineers to plan the overall delivery system for the project.
The water for irrigation and waterfowl habitat for the Bayou Meto area, which includes the Bayou Meto Game Management Area, will be supplied through a diversion canal from the Arkansas River. The Grand Prairie Bayou Meto project was initially authorized in the Flood Control Act of 1950, but was de-authorized in 1989 due to the provisions contained in the WRDA 1986 that automatically de-authorized projects that had not received funding for construction planning and design during that five year period after enactment.
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Since 1993, the Congress has devoted considerable resources to the planning and design of this project. Viable local entities are now in place and are assuming all of the non-Federal responsibilities. This project was included for reauthorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 1994 which unfortunately was not acted upon prior to the end of the 103rd Congress. We would like to see its inclusion in this year's bill.
The second project is the White River Navigation Project. The White River is a 255 mile river that flows from the Ozark Mountains to the Mississippi River through the heart of the Arkansas Delta. It flows through the Grand Prairie, of which I've just spoken, and is a great resource for agricultural and industrial commerce, but only for a portion of the year.
The current channel is only five feet deep and can accommodate the standard nine foot barges for approximately 65 percent of the year. For example, due to the low spots in the current channel, we cannot move the grain during the summer and autumn low flow periods. This forces industry to use much more expensive modes of transportation.
Today, approximately 834,000 tons move annually on the river. And recent studies have confirmed that during the first year of a commercially viable nine foot channel the traffic from existing industrial and agricultural users would exceed over 5,356,000 tons, a 500 percent increase in traffic.
Mr. Chairman, these projects both have enthusiastic local sponsors who are able and eager to begin their work. This project was originally authorized in 1986 and then de-authorized in 1988 for non-substantive political reasons. In any event, this project was also included for reauthorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 1994, which was not acted upon.
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Mr. Chairman, I respectfully request your support for these projects. They'd be of great benefit to the State of Arkansas and have national implications as well. I appreciate your allowing me to be here today, and would be more than happy to answer any questions here or at a later date in writing.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much.
I'd like to recognize Mr. Dickey.
Mr. DICKEY. I have a unanimous consent request I'd like to make. Mr. Chairman, I'd simply like to enter my testimony in the record as if read, in the interest of time of the subcommittee.
Mr. BATEMAN. Without objection, it will be done.
And now, Mr. Hutchinson.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to ask unanimous consent that my statement be submitted to be put in the record.
Mr. BATEMAN. Without objection.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. And I want to endorse what Mrs. Lincoln has said about both of these projects. We are having an aquifer problem in this particular area of Arkansas, part of which is in my district. We're going to lose all of our water for crops for hundreds of thousands of acres in the year 2015. So it's very important and critical for our economy and for the world's economy, since we provide so much crops and food fiber and so forth to the Nation.
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As far as the White River project is concerned, the second project she mentioned, there are now presently four barges that are stuck. It's going to coststuck in the river because of low water. This would not happen if in fact this authorized project had been funded. We are having a problem there with the farmers having to pay 20 cents a bush more to transport their crops. It is going to be a devastation to our economy. And so I want to reiterate that part of it, too.
And thank you very much for your time.
Mr. BATEMAN. And thank you for your brevity.
We only have five minutes to make a vote, and so we'll recess at this point.
Mr. BOEHLERT [resuming Chair]. Mr. Stupak, you may proceed. And I ask my colleagues to be brief, if possible, summarize your statement. Your full statement will appear in the record.
Mr. STUPAK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will summarize.
As you know, my Congressional district has more shoreline than any Congressional district except Alaska. So this bill and what this does is very important to me.
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We look back at the 1994 WRDA bill, there were a number of projects that were authorized and reauthorized, but unfortunately, that bill never made it through the Senate. So I'm here today asking for consideration of those same things. There are four harbors that we need to be reauthorized. They are Ontonagon, Alpena, Cross Village and the Cedar River Harbor Projects. I hope you'll reauthorize those projects.
On the Ontonagon, Village of Ontonagon, there is a 13 acre parcel of land that's used by an offloading dock by the city and a corporation there. We'd like that land transferred to the City. The Corps agrees with it. The Bureau of Land Management is so backlogged I think it will take years to get it done. So we're asking the subcommittee to transfer the property to the Village of Ontonagon.
We've got language included in all my testimony on the things we're asking for here, Mr. Chairman.
Second, I'd like to ask the committee to direct Army Corps to maintain its responsibility for dredging recreational harbors. As I said, not only do I have a lot of shoreline, but I have the most registered voters of any Congressional district in the United States, and Michigan as a state has more. So recreation is very important to us. And in the Clinton budget, they had in there that the Corps would no longer have the responsibility for dredging recreational harbors, but merely those that generate gas revenues. So we would ask that this committee direct the committee to direct the Army Corps to continue to fulfill this vital function of dredging all harbors, especially recreational harbors.
Page 373 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Third, the Soo Locks up in northern Michigan. Last year we were successful in extending, you know, it's a joint project here between a Federal and a non-Federal share. And last time, we extended for the non-Federal share, from having to be paid off over 25 years to 50 years. In the bill, we would like that to be extended to 50 years, and also that the non-Federal share, 20 to 30 percent of the Soo Locks traffic is Canadian, and therefore we ask that the Federal Government pick up this tab for the Canadians, since we do not seek a toll on the Soo Locks, and we want the reimbursement of the Canadian Government to come through the Federal Government.
Again, this was all in the bill in 1994. Probably the only new thing we have in there is Cedar River Project, which is the breakwall. We had some reference to it last year, but we would also like that to be considered. We want to put in a $2.5 million breakwall.
And the Grande Marais Harbor. Again, we've had a number of studies on Grande Marais. I think it's time to stop doing studies on this harbor and build a breakwall, which will probably cost less than the studies thus far.
Mr. Chairman, those are the main projects, as I said. In our testimony we have language to support what we're asking for. Most of it was in the 1994 bill. We ask that you reauthorize those projects.
In summation, let me say we've met with the Army Corps. They are very familiar with our request, and they have no objection to what we are testifying here today, and in fact are rather supportive of most of the projects I brought forth to the committee.
Page 374 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. We do appreciate your testimony.
Mr. PASTOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, ranking member, for allowing me to testify before you. Let me summarize my written testimony that you have before you.
The first issue that I want to make you aware of is, that I'm requesting language that was included in Section 102 of WRDA 1994 to adjust the terms of the non-Federal contribution to the construction of the Nogales Wash and tributaries flood control project. The cost of the project has increased tremendously, and the county being a small county, having a small tax base, needs relief. And so we're asking for an extension of the payback period to 30 years as allowed by law. Additionally, I am also asking to lower the county's cost-shared portion of the project as provided for in section 102 of WRDA '94.
The second project I want to bring to your attention and also ask your consideration is authorization for the Corps to proceed to the construction of a vital flood control project located in the heart of Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Drainage/Arroyo Chico Project provides, or will provide, critical protection for the majority of the City of Tucson. The feasibility study for this project will be completed in January 1997, and we're asking for authorization for its construction.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I'm requesting a modification to a Corps project that was authorized in Section 321 of WRDA 1992. That section authorized the construction of a water resources project in the vicinity of Phoenix, Arizona, better known as the Tres Rios Project, for the purpose of providing flood control and improving the water quality for the Tres Rios Wetlands.
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What I'm asking, Mr. Chairman, is that the authorization will be adjusted to $17.5 million and the addition of fish and wildlife enhancement be authorized also as a project purpose. I have it all in my written testimony, and I thank you for allowing me to be before you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you so very much.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and ranking member Borski. I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today in support of projects for California's Sixth Congressional District.
Before beginning with my three requests, I'd like to thank the Chairman and the subcommittee for your action just recently in approving my request for a Bolinas Lagoon study. I really do appreciate that, and so does my district.
Today I will touch very briefly on three other projects that are important to my district. And the detail is provided to you in written testimony.
The first project I respectfully request is the authorization of the San Clemente Creek Storm Damage Reduction Study. This is a study which will help solve serious flooding problems for residents of the town of Corte Madera. And to save time, Mr. Chairman, the suggested language for this has been provided with my written testimony.
Page 376 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Next, I urge the subcommittee to provide authorization for the San Rafael Canal Project. This project will prevent flooding which would affect over 1,000 properties. The Corps of Engineers estimates a total project cost of $28 million with an estimated Federal cost of $18 million.
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I want to register my support for enabling the Federal Government to participate in the cost share ability of upland disposal, which would help facilitate important restoration projects throughout the Nation. And the Hamilton Army Airfield in Novato, California, that I represent, is one very possible project that I would ask the subcommittee to consider.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for your consideration on these projects. They are of great importance to my district. Thank you.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you, and we do appreciate your summarizing.
Mr. FARR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank the subcommittee also for giving us this opportunity, but mostly for the subcommittee to take the action to move this water resources development legislation through the 104th Congress. This legislation is absolutely crucial to the economic engine of this country, and I appreciate your looking at the nuts and bolts in every community about that.
Page 377 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 I have three projects that I want to bring before you. I represent the coast of California, and we're a mountainous community, and the rivers run into the ocean. And so we live in this fragile ecozone. And one of the big rivers is the San Lorenzo River. The roots of the rivers flood control project go back to 1954 when Congress first authorized its construction after a huge flood that almost wiped out the City of Santa Cruz.
Subsequent to that flood control project, the problems in the original project developed and led to another reconnaissance and feasibility study, which is now near its completion. Over the last two years, the Army Corps of Engineers requested an authorization for construction to remedy the problems. Authorization for this project was included in the 1994 House WRDA bill that the Senate failed to act on. The completion of this project requires the authorization again of $17.9 million of which $9.3 million will be borne by the Federal Government. I urge the subcommittee to reincorporate this project in your authorization for the 1996 water resources development legislation.
I also want to ask the Committee to direct the Corps of Engineers to undertake the environmental restoration work associated with the San Lorenzo River Flood Control Project under Section 1135. The completion of this restoration project requires an authorization of $4.5 million of which $3 million will be borne by the Federal Government.
The reason it is essential to direct the Corps to do this is to coordinate the environmental restoration with the flood control efforts, rather than to deal with them separately under two different district offices. We know that there will be significant savings achieved in the long run if these two projects are undertaken together because the environmental improvements would be constructed as part of the existing flood control project. The two are not physically separate, and to treat them as such would lead to unnecessary and duplicative costs. So please direct the Corps to conduct the section 1135 restoration.
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The second project I'd like to bring to your mind is the Parajo River Flood Control Project. Just a year ago this week, this was the river you saw in every newspaper in the country. The Parajo River around Watsonville overflowed and just devastated the entire region and people had to be evacuated. Those floods were caused by a series of old levees that were created by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1949. These levees were inadequate in last year's flood.
What's going on now is the local jurisdictions in the State of California are looking to put together a comprehensive watershed management plan for the entire Parajo River Basin. We'd like to have the Corps of Engineers have authority to conduct a reconnaissance study to investigate the flooding and water quality programs in the problems in the Parajo River Watershed. And that's all that we ask in that, is for them to do that reconnaissance study.
And lastly, the harbor that I represent in Santa Cruz County has always had an ongoing dredging problem. The harbor took over the dredging from the Corps of Engineers, it was their responsibility. It's a major regional commercial harbor. What they did is, the port entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Corps of Engineers and the Federal Government to maintain the harbor entrance through its own dredging program, bought its own dredge and does the work. However, this arrangement runs out in the year 2014. The agreement has no provision for inflation.
The port district seeks to remedy this situation, and what they want to do is strike a new deal. And the port district would urge the subcommittee to authorize $1 million lump sum payment to the district to offset current and future inflation costs. The district also would like to extend the agreement where they will do it themselves until the year 2024. Under this agreement, the Federal Government will, then, if you don't do this, then the Federal Government will have to bear the full costs of the project after the year 2014.
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So essentially, the agreement's working well. They'd like to continue it. They'd like some up front money now. And it's estimated if they don't do that, the Federal Government will end up with a $28 million cost in their lap. So it's cost effective, and I would urge the committee to authorize the extension of the 1986 agreement and allow cost sharing arrangements to continue.
Thank you very much for your time.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Farr.
Now, the committee welcomes Mr. Franks.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
I'm here this afternoon to talk about one of the world's great ports, a port that directly and indirectly employs 180,000 people, and one that makes a $20 billion annual contribution to the region's economy. Mr. Chairman, I'm speaking, as you well know, of the great Port of New York and New Jersey.
But that great port, the first container port in North America, a port that helped to revolutionize the shipping industry, is now fighting for its life. The crisis over dredging of that port is threatening the survival of the port and threatening as well the economic viability of the region.
Page 380 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. Chairman, I noted with great pleasure that you had seen the front page story in the New York Times on Monday, which graphically outlined what's at stake and how we have come upon what now amounts to a true crisis in our area. But rather than reading my formal statement, which I would ask to have made a part of the record, I have brought along with me today Mr. Brian Maher, who is Chairman of Maher Terminals, who is already suffering impacts from our inability to have a rational dredging policy that will help us to conduct business at the great Port of New York and New Jersey. So Mr. Chairman, if I may, I'd like to yield to Mr. Maher.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. And I'm glad you made reference to the article. I brought it to the attention of the professional staff. Exceptionally well done, and details a very interesting story that requires our attention.
Mr. MAHER. Mr. Chairman, my name is Brian Maher, I'm Chairman of Maher Terminals, a privately owned marine terminal operator and stevedoring company in the Port of New York/New Jersey. We service 26 steamship companies and handle 600,000 containers a year, representing 45 percent of the container traffic through the Port. We employ 1,400 people a day and our annual payroll is $90 million.
The viability of our business is dependent upon deep water access to the Port. The silt that accumulates in the harbor contains traces of toxic contaminants. As a result of recent changes in the protocol and standard by the EPA, a large portion of the material to be dredged is not permitted to be disposed in the ocean.
Page 381 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Currently, dredging activities in the Port are at a competitive standstill and my business is threatened. Everyone recognizes that if the Port is not dredged and silts to a level of 16 feet, it will for all intents and purposes close. But then they always ask, are you losing business now. The answer is yes.
Last year, Canada's national railroad, with the endorsement of the United States Government, completed a tunnel that runs from Sarnia, Ontario, to Port Huron, Michigan, to permit the transit of double stacked rail cars. As a result, the Port of Halifax became a far more viable competitor to the Port of New York/New Jersey for United States Midwest cargo.
Meanwhile, our port has worked hard to become more competitive and grow. The collective effort of management, the International Longshoremens Association and the Port Authority, over the last decade, have greatly improved the competitive pricing of the port, especially as regards intermodal cargo. In fact, we have targeted intermodal cargo and recently opened a $15 million state of the art rail facility to handle United States Midwest cargo.
Traditionally, many companies transiting east to west or west to east have used our port as the first port in or the last port out. And in some cases as both. Unfortunately, our current lack of deep draft is forcing our customers to call the Port of Halifax first and last because we cannot accommodate their vessels fully laden.
We handle a service called a PAX, which is comprised of three major steamship companies. Up until 1994, these lines did not call the Port of Halifax. But due to the inability to bring in full ships to the Port of New York, they initiated calls in Halifax in November, 1994. In 1994, we handled 80,000 containers for these lines, and in 1995, after they began calling Halifax, we handled 72,000 containers. And a projection for our current volume for 1996 indicates that we will handle 60,000 containers, or a loss of 20,000 container moves. This diversion of cargo results in a loss of revenue to my company of approximately $5 million, and a loss of $2 million to $2.5 million in wages and fringe benefits to the workers whom we employ.
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I am aware that other major carriers are initiating calls in Halifax for the very same reason as these three carriers I mentioned above. Steamship carriers must plan two to five years in advance. And the cargo we lose today will be very difficult to get back. We need immediate relief in the form of a short term plan that provides for disposal sites for all the material that must be dredged, keeping in mind that the port community and the maritime industry did not create the pollution in the first place.
Secondly, we need a long term plan so that the port users can be confident that adequate depths of water will be maintained into the future, and lastly, the cost of containing and/or remediating should not be borne by the maritime companies. The entire Nation benefits from the international trade and commerce that passes through our ports. The pollution of the harbors is a national problem. The cleanup should be part of a national dredging plan and funding mechanism.
And Mr. Chairman, if I might, I would like to add into the record this New York Times article, which is an extremely good explanation of the subject.
Mr. BOEHLERT. By all means, you can. It should comfort you somewhat, Mr. Maher, I want you to know that the New York Times article is before me. Every member of the committee has already been given a copy in our daily clips, because Mr. Franks thought it was that important. And I do, too. But yes, by all means. No objection to that.
Mr. MAHER. Thank you.
Page 383 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much. I appreciate the outstanding testimony.
[Mr. Maher's prepared statement follows:]
Mr. BOEHLERT. Next we turn to our distinguished colleague from the committee, Mr. Baker.
Mr. BAKER. Thank you very much, Chairman Boehlert.
I'm here to discuss our opportunity to remove existing provisions in the Water Resources Development Act that limit wetland creation and enhancement across the Nation. When drafting WRDA 1996, I urge you to apply Federal cost sharing formulas currently used for ocean dredged disposal to costs for upland disposal projects, which can increase wetlands creation.
This new provision would remove current disincentives for local communities to create and maintain our wetland areas on a national level. One, we have to remove the barriers. Two, we have to leave decisions in the hands of the Corps of Engineers. They're the ones that will decide whether we go out to the ocean to dump the dredging materials or whether we create wetlands.
And three, apply existing matching requirements to these local participation, to keep local participation in, while we create the wetlands on the inland lake.
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Now, Sonoma, California has one, about 1,100 acres we're going to be working on. All we need is the okay and this law to authorize the Corps of Engineers to choose to create wetlands with the dredging material, rather than take it out to the ocean. Again, the matching requirements stand. The local participation is there under our language, and we ask you to include that in the WRDA 1996.
Thank you very much. I would like to have my compete statement read to you slowly, but I'm not going to do that, Mr. Chairman. I'm going to ask that it be submitted for the record.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Without objection. And we will study it very carefully and slowly.
Mr. BAKER. Thank you, I appreciate it.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you.
Mr. RIGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. May I just very quickly second the comments of my fellow northern Californian, and tell you that I'm very much in support of his proposal. The proposal is also strongly endorsed by General Bruce Scott, who is the Commanding General of the South Pacific United States District of the Army Corps of Engineers.
Page 385 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 I appear before you today, Mr. Chairman, with my good friend, Jack Alderson, who is the retiring Chief Executive Officer of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District in Humboldt County.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Welcome.
Mr. RIGGS. Jack is making his final appearance before your subcommittee, after more than 20 years at the helm of the district. We will all miss him. My testimony says we wish him fair winds and following seas in the future, which has particular meaning for Jack.
Mr. BOEHLERT. We echo those sentiments.
Mr. ALDERSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. RIGGS. Mr. Chairman, we're seeking inclusion of authorization of the construction for the Humboldt Harbor and Bay Navigation Project in WRDA 1995. The final feasibility report for the project was approved in April 1995. The final chief's report for the project was approved on October 30, 1995. The harbor district is a well managed, well led local sponsor for the project. Humboldt Bay is approximately 260 miles north of San Francisco. It's the only deep water port, deep water harbor, along a 500 mile stretch of the Pacific coastline between San Francisco and southern Oregon.
The cost of construction is estimated to be $15.1 million, with a local share in excess of $5 million, $4 million of which will be contributed by the local sponsor during the period of construction. The balance will be contributed over the life of the project, under the applicable cost sharing guidelines. The project will generate net annual benefits of $1.89 million and annualized costs of $997,000, yielding a very favorable cost benefit ratio, of 1.9 to 1.
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This project is recommended in the national economic development plan, and again, is extremely important to my Congressional district. Humboldt County and the north coast of California is an economically depressed region that remains heavily dependent upon the importation and exportation of resource materials and value-added products that are made with natural resources.
In addition to this authorization, I'm requesting, Mr. Chairman, that you and the subcommittee authorize navigation improvements within the Fields Landing Channel of the Humboldt Harbor to a depth of minus 35 feet. This authorization will enhance and diversify the economy of the southern Humboldt Bay region. In the past, that region has lost economic opportunity because of the present configuration of the channel and the long lead time necessary to make improvements.
There's a very strong likelihood that private enterprise will find it advantageous, at no cost to Federal taxpayers, to deepen the channel if the authorization is given, and thus a commitment made to maintain it.
As I mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the north coast of California and my Congressional district is an economically depressed region. This project, for the Humboldt Bay and the Humboldt Harbor, is the catalyst of what I refer to as the port enhancement project. This project will encompass what I anticipate to be a complementary package of public and private infrastructure projects, which will promote job creation and job retention, economic diversification and regional economic development on the north coast.
Page 387 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 There's one other project that I would like to mention, Mr. Chairman, and that is the Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg, California, in Mendicino County. Over the past year, we have seen the loss of nine fishing boats and the attendant loss of life involving vessels attempting to enter or leave this particular harbor.
The Corps now has under study the construction of a badly needed breakwater. This is the only port along 50 miles of rugged coast, the only port serving what is traditionally a fishing village. I respectfully request that the committee use the pending legislation to designate Noyo Harbor as a harbor of refuge. Again, we have consulted with the Army Corps of Engineers and they have recommended this course of action to us.
I thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to working with you to ensure the inclusion of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, California project for navigation in this measure, as well as the Noyo Harbor Port of Refuge designation. I would add one other thing, Mr. Chairman. That is, as you know, I serve on the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. And I am very eager to work with you and the members of this committee to include in our fiscal year 1997 bill the funds necessary to begin the process of reauthorizing WRDA. Mr. Alderson and I thank you for this opportunity.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you very much.
Now, our colleague, Mr. Weldon. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the Chairman for this opportunity to testify and I thank you and your committee and your committee staff for all the hard work you do on behalf of our great Nation.
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I would like to address three issues that are of importance for the committee, authorizing the Brevard County Beach Renourishment Project, authorizing the Corps of Engineers to reimburse Port Canaveral for rock relocation costs, and authorization of language affording cruise ships the same consideration as commercial vessels when it comes to navigational improvements.
I'd like to briefly mention the latter two issues before I go back to the beach renourishment project. During the widening of Port Canaveral authorized in the Water Resources and Development Act of 1992, the port incurred the full costs of some activities that should have been cost shared. The Corps has acknowledged the error. I'm asking the committee to include provisions identical to that included in Section 102 of Senate Bill S. 640, allowing the Corps to repay Port Canaveral.
Further, currently cruise ships pay into the harbor maintenance trust fund the same as other commercial vessels. However, when it comes to paying for navigational improvements, cruise ships are not treated as commercial vessels, but rather as recreational vessels. This puts navigation improvements for cruise ships at the bottom of the list in spite of the fact that they pay into the trust fund.
This is wrong. I am asking the committee to correct this inequity, and ensure that cruise ships are treated on a parity with other commercial vessels when it comes to navigational improvements.
Lastly, and what I'd like to devote more time to, is the Brevard County Beach Renourishment project. The Federal Government has a responsibility to mitigate the damage it has caused to the beaches south of Port Canaveral. In 1953, the Corps completed the Federal inlet at Port Canaveral. In 1962, the Corps acknowledged the loss of sand occurring on the south beaches, and Congress authorized a sand bypass project that would allow sand to be bypassed from the north side of the port to the south.
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The Corps never implemented the project. For 43 years the beaches south of the inlet have been losing sand. Houses that once stood 400 feet from the shore are now on the water's edge. And I would like to refer you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, to the picture that I have to my right. It shows the north side of the port sticking out several hundred yards further to the east than the south side. And in the inset, in the upper right hand corner, is a view from the north going to the south.
Gentlemen, 40 years ago that line was straight. The south side stuck out over 150 yards and the north side was back over 150 yards. This has been caused by the dredging and the dumping of the sand out into the ocean for the past 43 years. This is an issue of tremendous importance to a large area of my district. It has environmental concerns as well as Brevard County in Florida is the area that is most populated by endangered sea turtles. And we have a situation where the beach is literally being washed away. And I'd like to introduce to the committee for testimony County Commissioner Randy O'Brien. is county commission district in Brevard County is literally washing away. And I'd like him to make a few comments, if he can, please.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I sold my snow shovel many years ago and came down to Florida. I don't have to use a snow shovel any more.
I have prepared remarks. The beaches to the north of Port Canaveral
Page 390 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. BOEHLERT. Excuse me, your entire statement will appear in the record at this point. I would hope you would summarize it briefly.
Mr. O'BRIEN. It's already summarized, a minute and a half. Thank you.
The beaches to the north of Port Canaveral, like the beaches south of the inlet, were full and growing in size. Photographs today dramatically show what has happened since. More than 35 percent of the land in Port Canaveral is still federally owned and operated. Nuclear and Trident submarines, which require a deep channel, come into Port Canaveral. The Military Sea Lift Command, in direct support of the space operations and NASA, the U.S. Coast Guard has drug interdiction, Marine Safety Offices and a complete rescue operation at Canaveral.
The point being made is that Port Canaveral is not simply a cruise ship entity. The deep channel to Port Canaveral and the creation of Port Canaveral was and still is mainly for military, space and national security operations. It should be noted that the Corps of Engineers, on two occasions, made a dramatic, poorly planned and underfunded attempt to put sand on the damaged beaches. We cannot put band-aids on and expect them to work. Brevard County must have major repairs, and we strongly feel that the mitigation of our beaches must be done now. Let's not make a mistake, this is truly a mitigation project.
The problems we experience are not common, are not the normal, are not caused by an act of God, but are directly attributable to the channel cut at Port Canaveral. Most of us recognize that this is a true mitigation project. The Federal Government caused most of the damages. The Federal Government owes it to us to participate as a major partner. The Federal Government made Brevard County a promise years ago to restore the losses we have sustained. That promise has never been fulfilled. The problem is not our fault. It is the Federal Government's fault.
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And finally, in closing, Brevard County is ready. It is ready now with its financial share of the funding to replace the sand on our beaches. I have just returned from Tallahassee. There, they, the State, are going to jointly fund the project as long as the Federal Government tells them that they, too, are financially ready.
We, the communities, the county, the state, and others, have stepped up to the bat, and believe me, we are sorely in need of a home run. Gentlemen, we are in deep trouble here. It's not our fault. There's the problem.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Mrs. Seastrand?
Mrs. SEASTRAND. Thank you, Mr. Chair, for holding today's hearing. And I respectfully request that two very important projects in my district be included in the Water Resources Development Act.
The first is the acquisition of a dredge and associated equipment for maintenance dredging of navigation channels at Santa Barbara Harbor, including specific language allowing the Santa Barbara Harbor to loan their dredge to other nearby harbors. I believe this is a good practice to set for future dredge procurement, because it would maximize the use of Federal investment and save operation and management dollars.
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There is an important Federal interest in maintenance dredging in Santa Barbara Harbor. The Harbor provides slips and moorings for over 1,000 commercial emergency and recreational boats. Furthermore, the Harbor is an important port for Coast Guard operations on California's central coast.
In addition, the Harbor is the home port for over 25 commercial fishing vessels, and it's visited by other fishing vessels operating in the region. Need I say, they bring in over 12 million tons of fish valued at over $10 million annually.
Also, Stearns Wharf is within the Harbor, and it's a major tourist attraction and a focal point for the City of Santa Barbara. Now, over the course of the past few years, particularly with the severe 1995 winter storms, silt from the Mission Creek and other tributaries into the harbor area have deposited around Stearns Wharf. And consequently, the City of Santa Barbara fire boats have difficulty getting to the pier, creating a health and safety concern, thereby echoing the importance of continued maintenance dredging.
The cost of purchasing a dredge is $5.5 million, using October 1994 price levels. This request is in accordance with a report by the Chief of Engineers dated April 26th, 1994. The Chief of Engineers report recommends that cost sharing for the dredge follow the WRDA 1986 requirements or an 80 percent Federal, 20 percent non-Federal formula. And this would result in $4,420,000 Federal dollars being contributed, and $1,110,000 non-Federal cost sharing distribution.
Currently, the Federal Government incurs 100 percent of the maintenance cost of dredging the Santa Barbara Harbor as required under WRDA 1986. Because they incur 100 percent of the maintenance and operation cost, I believe that the Federal Government should incur 100 percent of the acquisition costs of the dredge and associated equipment for maintaining the dredging. The City of Santa Barbara calculated that under the existing project authority, the Federal Government is expected to spend approximately $1.2 million a year indefinitely to maintain the navigational channel at Santa Barbara.
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Moreover, the City has estimated that the Federal Government, or if the Federal Government incurred 100 percent of the acquisition costs for the dredge, long term savings to the Federal Government would be over $6 million. I think there are few projects that regional governments have been willing to take over from the Federal Government, particularly when they include accepting future operational costs. This practice saves significant Federal dollars in the long run. And I believe the City of Santa Barbara should be rewarded for this fiscal prudence and that the Federal Government incur 100 percent of the cost of the acquisition of a dredge.
Now, the second project pertains to the Santa Ynez River in Santa Barbara County, California. Currently, conflicting habitat preservation and flood control demands constitute a continuing problem in the Santa Ynez River Basin. In many areas within this basin, environmental constraints on channel maintenance creates dramatic reduction in flood protection. These reductions pose a severe flooding threat for adjacent communities, including agricultural lands, producing a variety of other fresh fruits and vegetable crops.
In addition, municipalities along the basin, such as in the cities of Solvang and Lompoc, where curbs in maintenance within the river basin because of regulatory constraints have diverted the river's flow, threaten to flood these areas where tourism and small business are active.
Well, because of the areas' inability to obtain permits to perform routine maintenance activities in the river basin, the residents, as well as Federal installations in the area, which is Vandenberg Air Force Base and the U.S. Federal Penitentiary, are now facing an unmitigated flooding disaster. What is requested is that the Secretary of the Corps develop a comprehensive river basin management plan that addresses the long term ecological, economic and flood control needs of the basin of the Santa Ynez river system.
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Furthermore, I request that $800,000 be authorized for appropriation to carry out the plan for fiscal years beginning after September 30th, 1996. These are two important, very important projects that are a significant economic and environmental importance to Santa Barbara County.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Thank you so much for your testimony.
Now our colleague Mr. Bentsen.
Mr. BENTSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate the opportunity to testify today in support of the fiscal year 1997 funding request by the Army Corps of Engineers for the Houston ship channel widening and deepening project. And of course, some proposed changes in the Army Corps of Engineers' flood control programs, which I'd like to talk with the committee about. And I'd ask unanimous consent that my statement be submitted for the record.
Mr. BOEHLERT. Without objection.
Mr. BENTSEN. The Houston ship channel requires significant expansion to meet the challenges of expanding global trade and to maintain its competitive edge as a major international port. Currently the port of Houston is the second largest port in the United States in total tonnage, and it is a catalyst for the southeast Texas economy, contributing more than $5 billion annually and providing 200,000 jobs for our area.
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However, the port's capacity to increase tonnage and increase jobs is limited by the size of the channel. Besides the economic benefits in this project, it is also a model for the Nation in addressing environmental concerns.
In 1990, the Corps of Engineers, the Port of Houston, and Federal, state and local agencies joined together in a beneficial users group or a BUG, to address environmental issues relating to the channel expansion. The BUG conducted 14 public workshops and several studies of the ecology of the Galveston Bay to ensure that its recommendations were publicly acceptable and scientifically sound. Because of these outreach efforts, the BUG's plan is supported by both business and environmental groups, including the Greater Houston Partnership and the Galveston Bay Foundation. And I would just tell the committee that that is quite a feat when you consider that the Houston ship channel and Galveston Bay are right in what would be considered the Nation's hub of the petrochemical industry.
This project offers tremendous benefits to help reverse the environmental degradation of Galveston Bay and to expand the economic potential of the Port of Houston. And I am eager to work with the committee to try and move this project forward.
I would also appreciate an opportunity to testify about an issue vitally important to my constituents and to all Americans who live with the threat of severe flooding. As you know, last year Congress rejected an administration proposal to terminate the Corps of Engineers' role in intrastate flood control projects. While it is clear that the Congress supports the Corps' role in such flood control projects, fiscal constraints demand that we seek new ways to complete these projects more cost effectively.
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That is why I have introduced H.R. 3108, legislation that would reduce the financial burden on the Federal Government while giving local entities more flexibility to plan and construct major flood control projects. H.R. 3108 incorporates language from the 1994 WRDA bill drafted by former committee Chairman Mineta to permit non-Federal interests to construct Congressionally authorized flood control projects. I'd also add that Representative Zoe Lofgren serves as an original cosponsor.
H.R. 3108 would allow local flood control districts to choose the plan, engineer and construct flood control projects with the approval from the Secretary of the Army. It would maintain the Corps' role in approving any studies, permits and construction plans to be carried out by the local entity. This legislation would also allow local entities to move ahead more quickly with much needed flood control projects and utilize new technology such as retention and detention pools in flood control projects. With fewer Federal dollars to go around, local entities should have more flexibility to complete these projects in a timely and cost efficient manner.
You may also be interested to know that I am working on companion legislation that would establish a direct grant program to local governments in flood control districts for Congressionally authorized projects. I believe this legislation would help bridge the gap between Congress and the Administration on how we can save money and maintain the Corps' oversight of flood plain management. And I hope to work closely with this subcommittee to craft this important bill.
I would also like to briefly touch on one additional issue related to flood control. Under current law, a local entity may receive credit towards their share for construction in advance of the Corps' work on an authorized project. For Harris County, which I represent, the Section 215 agreement program has proved unworkable. Improvements constructed ahead of the Corps' schedule often alter the benefit cost ratio and threaten the feasibility of the final Federal project. I'm working with the Corps, Harris County and the committee staff to draft language which streamlines Section 215 agreement process.
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In summary, I want to emphasize my strong support for the Corps' role in Federal flood control projects. However, I believe we must look to the future and seek new ways to help the Corps and its local partners to protect lives, homes and businesses from the threat of massive flooding. More flexible and more cost effective flood control planning is vital to that effort.
Again, I'd like to thank the Chair and the members of the subcommittee for allowing me to testify this afternoon, and I look forward to working with you on these issues.
Mrs. SEASTRAND [assuming Chair]. Thank you, sir.
If there is no objection, Mr. English, would it be all right of Mr. Buyer gave his testimony? I understand he has to leave.
Mr. ENGLISH. Sure.
Mr. BUYER. I appreciate it. It will allow me to get back. I've never seen so many generals in a hearing room down the hall, and you can feel the weight of the building going in that direction, that's why.
I appreciate the opportunity to testify here and ask that my complete statement be submitted for the record, and I will summarize.
Mrs. SEASTRAND. Without objection, so ordered.
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Mr. BUYER. Stretching across northern Indiana is the Tippecanoe River. You remember from the fifth grade, Tippecanoe and Tyler, too. The Tippecanoe River is a tributary of the Wabash River, that then flows through Indiana into Ohio. In the 1920s, along the Tippecanoe River, there were two dams that were created in Monticello. These dams provided electricity just after the turn of the century for the rural areas.
The Tippecanoe River, stretches for so very many miles, and the watershed for the Tippecanoe River is 1.2 million acres. And what has occured is a buildup of siltation over the years. For a long time, from 1923 to 1980, the siltation and rate of sediment in Lake Shafer was 75 acre-feet per year. From 1980 to 1993, it's 217 acre feet per year.
And the lakes are filling up with siltation, and it's causing an environmental problem. In addition, on Lake Shafer is Indiana's largest amusement park and recreation facility. The lakes attract over a million people a year, and in fact there are now many homes surrrounding the lakes.
We have several things happening at the same time. The community is trying to move away from the leach beds to sewer systems to take care of the e-coli problems. At the same time, the community is trying to turn toward environmental restoration with regard to the siltation and the cleanup.
Since the watershed in the Tippecanoe River is so large, and in the 1980s a lot of the farmers moved toward more tillage, open ditching, plowing up the ditches, and farming all the way over to the side of the roads, it really has created this increase in siltation into the lake. This has lowered the lake's depth. Last year, I was stunned by what I had seen in Lake Shafer with the amount of siltation that had built up.
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The community, the State of Indiana, and the Corps of Engineers have come together. They are participating in the project for the lake's environmental restoration. What we're asking for is for Federal support of the project. The project is in three phases. Phase one is to create silt traps on the creek, the creeks that lead into the lake itself. Phase two will create a silt trap on the river itself. And phase three will be the dredging operations.
I ask for this to be an authorized Federal project, I want to make sure it is on the record here, that it's important that we maintain, the partnership between the private industry and those from the local communities who benefit from this, together with the State of Indiana and the Federal Government.
So that is my request here today. This morning I spoke with Congressman John Myers of Lafayette, and John and I both support this project and make this request to you. There is some authorization with regard to the Wabash River and its tributaries with regard to planning and design. And Congressman Myers will be looking into that with regard to his subcommittee chairmanship in Appropriations. But we're asking for authorization of this project for the construction phase to finish out phase one and to begin on phase two. And with your request, Madam Chairwoman, I would like to submit further details of the project to the committee within the week.
Mrs. SEASTRAND. Without objection, so ordered.
[The material received follows:]
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Mr. BUYER. Thank you, and that would conclude my statement.
Mrs. SEASTRAND. Thank you so much, Mr. Buyer.
May I call on Mr. English.
Mr. ENGLISH. Thank you, Madam Chairman. And what I would like to do is submit my full testimony for the record and summarize.
Thank you, Ms. Chairman. I would like to thank Chairman Boehlert and the members of the Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment for affording me the opportunity to speak at this hearing in support of my bill, House Concurrent Resolution 127. This legislation petitions the Government of Canada to eliminate the tolls collected by Canada along the St. Lawrence Seaway System.
As a representative of a Great Lakes District and as a lifelong resident of one of the most venerable of the Great Lakes ports, I strongly believe that abolishing these tariffs would create jobs in a better, more dynamic economy for many communities in the Great Lakes region, through easier and more affordable goods movement. If these issues are as important to the families in your district as they are in mine, I would encourage you to join me in persuading Canada to remove this impediment to increased exports from the Great Lakes Region to overseas markets.
Page 401 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 To appreciate the economic issues at stake, I invite the subcommittee to contemplate a map of the world. The members will see that our industrial heartland in the northeast and Midwest is geographically placed near to emerging markets in Europe. Much of our Nation's manufacturing base is strategically located close to a region that represents dramatic new trade opportunities for America and for Canada.
The natural avenue for that commerce is the St. Lawrence Seaway. The United States abandoned the regressive practice of lock fees in 1987, after a series of studies highlighting positive economic gains that would result from that. Presently, the U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation is negotiating with its Canadian counterpart to modernize management of the system and has as a priority the elimination of the tolls. Passage of House Concurrent Resolution 127 would put Congress strongly in favor of this position and would provide our negotiators a useful tool to expedite these trade talks.
Canada justifies its continued collection of tolls as a way to offset the costs of maintaining and operating the St. Lawrence Seaway. For 1994, Canada collected $75 million from traffic, and has indicated a willingness to expand its revenue. Congress now needs to encourage Canada to act on this policy of dropping the tolls in response to economic studies of Canada as well as the United States and to modernize the financing of their portion of the Seaway. Since the Canadian Parliament is currently contemplating increasing these fees, I believe time is of the essence.
Mr. Chairman, I want to stress that it is imperative that we take every opportunity to stimulate regional economic growth. The maritime activity on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system generates nearly $2 billion annually in business revenue for the United States. The region is home to 40 percent of all United States manufacturing. This sector uses the Seaway to handle $673 million of iron and steel products, $377 million of iron ore and $369 million of coal on an annual basis. On a typical voyage, we calculate $170,000 in fees would be imposed by the Canadian government. Constructively, this is a foreign tax on U.S. commerce.
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Mr. Chairman, my legislation has attracted the support of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the Great Lakes Port Association, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the American Farm Bureau, the National Grain and Feed Association, the Great Lakes International Longshoremen and the National Mining Association. It enjoys bipartisan support in this Congress.
We cannot let this issue slip to the back burner. Time clearly is of the essence. At a time of ever-increasing global competitiveness, Canada must be encouraged to undo restrictive trade barriers that harm U.S. employers and workers. Passage of House Concurrent Resolution 127 is an important step toward this end.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. FRANKS [assuming Chair]. Mr. English, we thank you for your thoughtful testimony.
The committee would now be delighted to hear from Mr. Ward of Kentucky.
Mr. WARD. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate this opportunity to testify this afternoon in support of legislation that authorizes the Water Resources Development Act.
The Federal programs established by this legislation make possible, among other things, the construction of much needed flood protection projects in communities across the country, including mine in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky. Contained in the bill before the subcommittee is a request by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for authorization to construct a civil works project I strongly support, the Metropolitan Louisville, Pond Creek, Kentucky Local Protection Project. The project area is located in southern and southwestern Jefferson County in my Congressional district. And the Louisville and Jefferson County metropolitan sewer district is the local sponsor. It has an estimated cost of just over $11 million.
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The area of the project encompasses 20 miles of stream reach and consists of two detention basins, 3.9 miles of channel improvement, a 15 acre environmental restoration component and a maintenance recreation trail associated with channel improvement. When completed, the project will remove an estimated 1,600 properties from the 100 year flood plain and will reduce flood heights and frequency of flooding for a number of others.
Mr. Chairman, reconnaissance and feasibility studies were completed in 1990 and 1994, respectively. With the preconstruction and engineering design phase due to be completed in September, construction of the Pond Creek project is scheduled to begin in October. Passage and enactment of the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization, therefore, is critical to maintaining the timetable for the project.
Before I conclude, and this is not included in my written statement, which I would ask to be included in the record, Mr. Chairman, I would like to add my voice to those who have expressed opposition to the proposed change in the cost sharing rule for structural flood control projects. I understand that should the proposal become law the local sponsor of the project would be required to pay 50 percent of the project instead of the current 25 percent.
Mr. Chairman, increasing the amount of costs shared by the Louisville and Jefferson County metropolitan sewer district would greatly impede the progress being made on the many flood control projects now underway in my community. And during this basketball tournament time, especially being from Louisville and also from Kentucky at the same time, I have to say that this is like changing the rules during the middle of the basketball season, to say that we're not going to have a three point shot any more or some such thing. Because we have relied upon this funding proposal, this funding plan and mechanism, up to this time, it would not only delay critically needed relief for residents, but would also be very costly in the long term.
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I urge the subcommittee to consider very carefully the impacts of modifying that present policy. Again, thank you all very much for allowing me this opportunity to be before you today.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Ward, thank you very much.
We're delighted now to welcome Mr. Green from Texas.
Mr. GREEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank you and the other Members for allowing me to appear before the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, and also to discuss the reauthorization of the Water RESOURCES Development Act.
I represent most of the Port of Houston, and on behalf of the Port of Houston Authority and the 196,000 people whose jobs depend on the activity in the port, I appreciate the opportunity to be here this afternoon.
The Port of Houston has been consistently ranked the number one port in foreign tonnage for nearly 10 years, and the second busiest port in total tonnage. We're the eighth busiest port in the world, with over 5,000 vessels and 50,000 barges navigating our waterway each year. The Port of Houston commerce generates over $5.5 billion annually to the Nation's economy and an estimated 53,000 people work in jobs that are directly related to the Port of Houston's activity. And another 143,000 jobs are indirectly related to the Port's activity.
In addition, the port generates over $200 million annually in state and local taxes and nearly $300 million in customs fees. There is no doubt that the Port of Houston is continually a viable force in the commerce of the United States. Yet our busy waterway must be widened and deepened to accommodate the changes for reasons of safety, environment, and economic support the Houston ship channel is long overdue to be improved. In the 1980s, the Port Authority and the Corps of Engineers joined with Federal and state agencies to develop a plan to dredge the channel without negatively impacting the environment.
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In addition, the Harris County voters have committed significant local funding to support the improvements. By a two to one vote, the citizens approved a measure that would provide $130 million to deepen the channel. This project is ready for a water resources development bill, and all required studies on this improvement project have been completed. The Corps of Engineers has begun the internal process to ready the project for the issuance of the Chief Engineer's report.
At present, the Chief's report is scheduled to be released on May the 7th of this year. And I'm concerned that if the Chief's report is not issued before this subcommittee marks up the Water Resources Development Bill, the timing may impair this needed project. If the release of the Chief's report remains on its current schedule and the subcommittee marks up this bill before the release, I respectfully request that the subcommittee consider the inclusion of this vital project in the markup, pending a favorable Chief's report.
This project has widespread bipartisan support, including Texas Governor George Bush. It's important to the Port of Houston and is not only important to Texas and the United States, but also, since we're number one in foreign tonnage, increasing our trade with Mexico and Latin America.
The plan to dredge the channel proves that the port development and environmental concerns are not mutually exclusive. And I appreciate this subcommittee's interest in allowing me to testify on this priority project, and I would like to ask that my statement be inserted in the record, Mr. Chairman.
Page 406 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 3 Of 3 Mr. FRANKS. Without objection, so orders.
Mr. GREEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. Green.
Next we'll hear from Ms. Lofgren from California.
Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me this opportunity to testify. I have a longer statement I'd like to submit to the record, I want to make just a few comments now about why I'm here today.
I represent an area that has unfortunately suffered flooding in the past. As a matter of fact, last year was one of our worst winters, and my own district office was evacuated because of the flooding in downtown San Jose. However, that flooding would have been much worse had it not been for the advance construction done by our local agency for flood control.
I'm here to talk today about the bill introduced by Mr. Bentsen and myself, H.R. 3108, to allow local sponsors to do the work that has been done traditionally by the Corps. I think it makes sense for America, and it makes sense for taxpayers. I certainly understand and support the role of the Corps in communities where there is not a local sponsor available to do the job. But in our case, we have the Santa Clara Valley Water District that has substantial experience in constructing flood control projects, has done them on their own nickel from time to time, and now, since 1986, has participated in some of the advance work allowed under that Act.
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I understand the precedent for allowing local sponsors to proceed in this manner has already been made in the area of port and shoreline protection, and I think we will get a bigger bang for our buck if we move forward aggressively in this area. I believe it's the kind of approach that should attract bipartisan support. It should not be a partisan issue, because it's good for America and saves taxpayers money and gets the job done.
Thank you again for allowing me to testify.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Ms. Lofgren.
Mr. LoBiondo is not present, I don't believe.
Mr. BORSKI. Mr. Chairman, I have a unanimous consent request. I ask unanimous consent that the statement of our colleague Ms. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas be placed in the record.
Mr. FRANKS. Without objection, so ordered.
[Ms. Jackson-Lee's prepared statement follows:]
Mr. BORSKI. And also I would ask unanimous consent that the statement of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, Mr. Dennis Rochford, be made part of the record at the appropriate place.
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Mr. FRANKS. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. FRANKS. This concludes our scheduled hearing on the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. The record will be kept open for a period of 30 days to receive additional comments. Over the coming weeks, we will be developing legislation that takes into consideration today's testimony and the testimony that's been received previously.
While we have at this point no fixed schedule, we anticipate the subcommittee markup as early as April.
This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:18 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to be reconvened subject to the call of the Chair.]