Graves Pushes Water Resources Bill Through The House

Press Release

Washington, DC –  Today, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, (MO06), helped pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA). Graves made the following statement after passage of the bipartisan bill:

"The water infrastructure bill is absolutely essential to our economy,” said Graves. “This bill provides protections to businesses and peace of mind to farmers, but more importantly, it ensures we can remain competitive in the global economy. More than a quarter of our annual GDP comes from international trade, but without modern ports and inland waterways, Missouri farmers and businesses would not be able to efficiently get products to foreign markets.”

Graves, a senior member of the Committee, secured unanimous support for an amendment that would halt the construction of more habitat features for the pallid sturgeon on the Missouri River.

“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 various 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.

Last month, Graves held a Missouri River Roundtable with stakeholders to discuss their needs and concerns. In addition to Corps’ management practices, topics of discussion also included prioritizing flood control, ongoing problems with 408 permits, and reduction of federal overreach in habitat programs.

Graves’ district is bordered by approximately 284 miles of the Missouri River on its western and southern boundaries, and more than 100 miles of the Upper Mississippi River on its eastern edge. In addition to providing the resources needed to protect against flooding, this water infrastructure bill invests in port and inland harbor infrastructure that allows American farmers and businesses to transport goods around the globe.

Click here for additional information about the Water Resources Development Act of 2018.