"WRRDA is a mixed bag for rivers," said
"River conservationists across the nation will face new challenges as they fight to protect rivers from harmful water projects. Passage of HR 3080 will result in shorter public comment periods, cursory reviews of project impacts, and a reduced time period for filing legal challenges. The public will have to engage early and often to make sure water projects don't bring undue harm to river health, clean water, and wildlife," said Irvin.
WRRDA shifts control of these environmental review processes from resource agencies to the Corps and local project sponsors, shortens deadlines for public comment and agency reviews, levies fines for resource agencies unable to meet deadlines, and reduces the statute of limitations for legal challenges to harmful projects from six years to three. These changes have the potential to seriously undermine environmental review of Corps projects.
Despite these provisions, WRRDA does emphasize the importance of investing in water infrastructure - which is especially critical as infrastructure ages and the impacts of climate change increase. For example, WRRDA establishes a federal credit assistance program that has the potential to provide needed investment in water infrastructure if implemented properly. American Rivers will work with the
One bright spot in WRRDA is a section authorizing river restoration projects in the
"This provision will provide a triple bottom line for the
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