House passes water bill with measures to help the Great Lakes and Cleveland
The Water Resources Development Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 408 to 2 margin. It contained an amendment authored by Russell Township GOP Rep. Dave Joyce that would require the Army Corps to produce its final report in February 2019, when it is supposed to be released.
A preliminary version of the study was delayed for six months, and legislators like Joyce want to ensure there are no more snags. The initial study suggested building multiple structural impediments near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Illinois to keep the voracious carp from escaping the Mississippi River system into the Great Lakes and destroying native fisheries.
"The sooner the final report is released, the sooner we can begin to implement methods and technologies that will keep the invasive Asian carp out of the Lakes, which count for more than 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water supply," Joyce said on the House of Representatives floor.
The bill also contained a measure from Holmes County GOP Rep. Bob Gibbs that would give the Army Corps a two-year window to complete plans for disposal of the sediments it dredges to keep ports and waterways navigable.
Gibbs said the measure would help resolve an impasse between the Port of Cleveland and the Army Corps over disposal of dredged material from the Cuyahoga River's federal navigation channel. Gibbs said the Army Corps' failure to promptly produce a management plan for the sediment means Cleveland's port can't make long term plans "without considerable and avoidable risk."
"The Port of Cleveland and many entities across the country rely on these dredged material management plans," said Gibbs said on the House floor. "They should not have to wait as long as four years for these studies and plans to be completed.
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