House Approves Bill to Fund Corps of Engineers in FY 2014


The House approved a bill late last Wednesday that would fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works programs for Fiscal Year 2014.

The bill, (H.R. 2609), calls for spending a total of $4.899 billion for Civil Works for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2013.  It includes $1.573 billion for construction, $23 million more than the House Appropriations Committee approved in June.

In June, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill with higher funding levels for Civil works programs.  The Senate bill would provide $5.272 billion, which is $300 million above fiscal year 2013, for the Corps. Corps funding in the Senate bill would include $2.7 billion for operations and maintenance; $1.542 billion for construction; $300 million for the Mississippi River and Tributaries program; $200 million for the regulatory program; and $120 million for investigations.  The bill has not been scheduled for action by the full Senate.

The Senate bill proposes $1 billion for activities funded by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which will be used for improvements to navigation projects, including dredging harbors and channels, repairing dikes and jetties, and disposing of dredge material. The bill also would provide $380 million—$100 million above the president’s request—to carry on current flood control construction work.

The House approved amendments by Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Joe Garcia (D-FL), and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) to add $23 million to the Corps’ construction account, increases that were matched by $23 million reductions in other Energy Department and Civil Works program accounts funded in the bill.

Also included in the House bill are operation and maintenance programs to be funded at $2.682 billion; $249 million for projects in the Mississippi River and Tributary system; $90 million to study new projects; and $28 million for flood control and coastal emergency programs.

The House approved an amendment by Rep. Mike. Kelly (R-PA) to prohibit the use of Corps funds to develop or submit a proposal to expand the authorized uses of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

The House also approved an amendment by Scalise to prohibit the Corps from using appropriated funds to employ the “modified Charleston method” within the state of Louisiana for evaluating wetland losses.

The Corps developed the “modified Charleston method” in 2002 to measure the functional loss of wetlands indirectly by considering the quality of wetland functions of the impacted site weighed against the perceived increases of wetland functions of a mitigation project.

ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave U.S. inland waterways and ports a grade of D- and C, respectively. ASCE strongly supports investment in our nation’s aging and outdated ports and waterways. ASCE submitted testimony to the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee in March outlining recommended funding priorities for FY14.

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