May 22, 2024

Ricketts Supports EPW’s Water Resources Bill with Major Conservative & Nebraska Wins

May 22, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) released the following statement on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ passage of the bipartisan Thomas R. Carper Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2024.

“This bill has so many wins for the state of Nebraska,” said Senator Ricketts. “I appreciate that this bill outlines priorities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will improve customer service, help our state build more resiliently, reduce flood risks, and promote economic growth.”

The WRDA 2024 grants the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) authorization to proceed with projects and studies aimed at addressing water resource challenges in communities nationwide, including several in Nebraska. 

Full text of legislation can be found here.

Ricketts’ WRDA Wins for Nebraska

Demand Better Customer Service:

  • Sec. 106 would require the USACE to update the Permit Finder Dashboard within 30 days of the end of the fiscal year and reflect the current processing timelines. This would ensure users are being given the most updated estimates for processing timelines.
  • Sec. 233(c) would direct the Government Accountability Office to review and issue a report on trends, public resources, and opportunities to expedite the review of applications for permits under the Section 408 program, including the use of categorical permissions.

Improve Ice Jam Management

  • Sec. 221 would require USACE to submit a report to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works the on ice jam prevention and mitigation, as well as plans for engagement with state and local stakeholders regarding impacts to critical infrastructure.
  • Sec. 313 increases funding levels for the existing removal of obstructions fund and includes ice jams as a covered obstruction.

Require More Transparency

  • Sec. 223 would require USACE to brief the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on opinions or funding requests in order carry out the actions in the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System, the operation and maintenance of the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, the operation of the Kansas River Reservoir System, and the implementation of the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan.
  • Sec. 233(a) would require more accurate project cost estimates. It would direct the GAO to review and report on the accuracy of project cost estimates developed by the USACE.
  • Sec. 233(f) would direct the GAO to review and issue a report on opportunities to facilitate improved environmental review processes for project studies, including through the consideration of expanded use of categorical exclusions, environmental assessments, or programmatic environmental impact statements.
  • Sec. 338 urges the USACE to make decisions regarding the operations of civil works projects within the Missouri River Basin publicly available, increasing transparency for communities in the Basin.