Boxer, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman, and ranking member David VitterDavid VitterSenators aim to bolster active shooter training 5 takeaways from Mike Lee’s leadership bid Republicans demand shift in Obama’s ISIS strategy MORE (R-La.) introduced the Water Resources Development Act, which passed unanimously out of committee. S. 601 would authorize projects related to flood and storm risk reduction, coast and inland navigation, and ecosystem restoration.
"The environmentalists don't like to have any deadlines set so that they can stall projects forever," Boxer told the LA Times. "I think it's wrong, and I have many cases in California where absolutely necessary flood control projects have been held up for so long that people are suffering from the adverse impacts of flooding."
After Boxer’s committee passed the $12-billion bill, the president of the National Wildlife Federation, Larry Schweiger, said it was a “business as usual approach” to water resource problems.
“The current draft of the Water Resources Development Act does not address the fundamental over-reliance on costly, destructive and unsustainable projects and it rolls back key environmental protections in a misguided attempt to move outdated projects more quickly,” Schweiger said.
But GOP senators have applauded the flood prevention measures, meaning the bill could pass with bipartisan support in the Senate as early as next week.
Sen. John HoevenJohn HoevenThis week: Congress on track to miss Puerto Rico deadline Week ahead: Senate looks to wrap up energy, water spending bill Overnight Energy: Senate blocks GOP bill targeting water rule MORE (R-N.D.) said he’s been pushing for legislation with permanent flood protection for his state because it is less expensive and more effective than recovering from severe flooding.
“We have been pushing for this authorization for the project because it represents a big step toward permanent flood control in the Red River Valley,” Hoeven said after it was announced last week that the Senate would begin consideration of the bill soon.
On May 6, the Senate is scheduled to take the first procedural vote on a motion to end debate on a motion to proceed to S. 601.