House Passes Water Resources Bill That Contains Crucial Provisions Offered By Rep. Babin to Improve Navigation and Maintenance of Houston Ship Channel
Washington, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 (H.R. 5303), legislation that included two amendments offered by U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) to improve the navigation and maintenance of the Houston Ship Channel. The WRDA bill, which passed the House by a strong bipartisan vote of 399 to 25, addresses the needs of America’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection, and other water resources infrastructure by authorizing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers activities. The bill also included additional provisions that Rep. Babin pushed to provide the Corps and local officials with maximum flexibility to carry out navigation safety activities (Section 104).
“The Greater Houston area is the energy production and chemical manufacturing capital of the world, and the Port of Houston's ability to ship those goods is directly responsible for the billions of dollars in economic activity and the hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs it creates in Texas and across the country,” said Rep. Babin. “These amendments apply common sense principles that will allow the Corps to focus on its navigation safety and harbor maintenance responsibilities – rather than imposing costly regulations on projects and areas where the local officials and private businesses can take care of things better on their own.”
Chairman of the Port of Houston Authority, Janiece Longoria, praised Rep. Babin’s work in a statement saying, “As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congressman Babin added crucial amendments to the House WRDA bill that will remove duplicative procedures and unnecessary hurdles in the federal process of maintaining and improving the Houston Ship Channel.”
Background: WRDA 2016 contains no earmarks, maintains the strong bipartisan reforms included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, and adheres to the new transparent process established in that law for congressional review of proposed Corps of Engineers water resources development activities. Following the oversight and review process set forth in the 2014 law, WRDA 2016 authorizes infrastructure improvements that have been proposed at the local level, reviewed by the Corps according to strict congressionally established criteria, and submitted to Congress for consideration.