WASHINGTON, May 22 -- The office of Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., issued the following news release:
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor today announced that the Senate has passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act Conference Report, a bipartisan bill that will spur future economic growth and job creation by strengthening our nation's water infrastructure.
"Arkansas is a powerhouse when it comes to waterway commerce, jobs, and exports. If we want to see continued growth then we must make smart investments to upgrade our water infrastructure," Pryor said. "I'm pleased the Senate and House came together to pass this bipartisan bill, and put our state on the path to future economic growth and job creation."
Pryor included several provisions in the bill that will benefit Arkansas businesses, farmers, and families. Highlights include:
* Cutting red tape for Arkansas farmers: Under the EPA's proposed Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, many farmers with oil and gas tanks on their farms would be required to hire a certified professional engineer to design a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan. It would also require farmers to purchase new capital equipment to comply with the rule, including dual containment tanks on farm trucks and fuel storage units. Pryor's provision exempts farms with aggregate above ground storage of 2,500 gallons or less. It also allows farmers who have between 6,001-20,000 gallons of above ground storage capacity to self certify their own plans--saving farmers tens of thousands of dollars.
* Securing the future of the Arkansas River: Pryor supported language authorizing the Secretary to establish a McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System Advisory Committee.
* Keeping Arkansas Parks Open: Pryor and Senator John Boozman worked together on a provision to re-establish U.S. Army Corps of Engineer practices that allow cooperating partners to collect and reinvest recreation fees for operation, maintenance, and management at the recreation site where collected.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Arkansas's waterways and ports support 9,640 jobs and contribute $1.2 billion to our state's economy.