U.S. Rep. Sam Graves helped pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA) which was included as part of S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act. Graves made the following statement after passage of the bill:
“America’s water infrastructure provides protections for families, farmers and peace of mind to businesses,” said Graves. “It also ensures we can remain competitive in the global economy by providing a cheap and efficient option to distribute goods and services. Over a quarter of our annual GDP comes from international trade, but without our ports, dams, waterways, and inland harbors, U.S. businesses would have a harder time getting their products to foreign markets.”
Graves secured unanimous support for an amendment that would halt the construction of more habitat features for the pallid sturgeon on the Missouri River because of a lack of results.
“Flood control should be our first priority, with navigation being a close second, when it comes to managing the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Unfortunately, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) spending on environmental projects tells a different story. Their latest unproven method of species recovery in the Interception-Rearing Complexes (IRC) is an irresponsible use of taxpayer money. For the sake of landowners, businesses and taxpayers, I believe we must halt these activities until the Corps can prove more harm will not be done to Missourians. It is unconscionable that the Corps would even attempt to spend millions of dollars on such activities that are theoretical at best.”
Since 2011, the Missouri River Recovery Plan has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to carry out environmental activities such as land acquisition and construction of shallow water habitats meant to help the recovery of three endangered species- the interior least tern, piping plover, and pallid sturgeon. As a result, landowners and farmers have had to endure regular flood events costing millions of dollars according to a U.S. Federal Claims Court finding. The plan has shown no measurable improvement toward species recovery and therefore has been abandoned. The Fish and Wildlife Services and Corps have begun rolling out a new, unproven strategy known as IRC’s.
The Graves amendment, which was unanimously adopted, will stop construction of any more IRC’s and require a report from the Corps to ensure the current two that have been built do not interfere with navigation, flood control or any other authorized purpose and that they actually lead to significant population recovery of the pallid sturgeon.