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House Water Bill Undercuts Environmental Safeguards

WASHINGTON (September 19, 2013) – The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved today a major water infrastructure bill which contains provisions that undermine basic environmental protections and public input provided for by the National Environmental Policy Act.

Scott Slesinger, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, made these comments following the vote on the Water Resources and Reform Development Act of 2013: 

“The public needs and expects an effective chance to review major federal projects that will affect their communities and the environment, like the massive water projects authorized by this bill.  This bill significantly undermines the ability to conduct those reviews under NEPA.  It curtails public input in ways that will harm the environment.

“Cutting the time for environmental reviews will not speed up projects when the real problem is funding.  The Corps of Engineers has $60 billion worth of projects ready-to-go and Congress appropriates less than $2 billion each year.  Republicans simply want to make it easier for bad projects to slip through without adequate consideration of their impact on the environment and those communities downstream of water projects.

“Congress should protect the people’s right to know what the federal government is doing to their communities and reject this bad bill unless NEPA’s safeguards are restored.”

Follow his tweets on the markup at scottsles1

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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