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Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) Completed

Authorizes $70 Million for Various Mississippi Water Projects –

From: Office of Sen. Trent Lott   Filed 11/8/07  GCN

Washington — Today at the urging of U.S. Senator Trent Lott, the Senate over-rode a Presidential veto and enacted the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

 Like the Senate, the House over-rode the veto, and now the bill becomes law.

“The President is trying to restrain federal spending, and I certainly understand that,” Senator Lott said. “In fact, that’s one reason I voted yesterday against the badly bloated Labor HHS bill which contained almost $10 billion in excessive spending.

 “But developing water resources is an area where the federal government clearly has immediate responsibility that impacts public safety, quality-of-life and job creation,” Senator Lott continued. “So we must take proactive steps to provide flood protection, safe drinking water and good ports and harbors. Mississippians understand the role having good water resources can play in helping to provide more economic opportunity and jobs, and certainly this bill will have a significant impact on our state.”

This is the first Water Resources Development Act passed since 2000.  Nationally, the new WRDA authorizes $23.2 billion in spending for water-related infrastructure needs.

WRDA projects impacting Mississippi include: 

Freshwater Diversion Project, Mississippi and Louisiana. WRDA authorizes a much needed freshwater diversion project at Violet, La., to alleviate a dead-zone in the Western Mississippi Sound. This is a project that will benefit both states.  It is a product of lengthy negotiations between the two states.

Environmental Infrastructure Projects – There is approx. $70 million in new authorizations for water supply and wastewater projects across the state.

Jackson County, water supply and waste water improvement project – Modifies current law to clarify intent of Congress, increase non-federal credit limit to $9,000,000 and increase authorized funding levels to $32,500,000 (from $20,000,000) and makes a technical correction modifying the project’s description to clarify that certain sewer-related improvements are covered as originally intended.

Section 592 program – This is a program that is used to upgrade and restore water and wastewater infrastructure in smaller communities across the state. WRDA increases authorized funding levels to $110,000,000 (from $100,000,000).

Alcorn County Surface Water Program – Authorizes program under Section 219 for funding level of $7,500,000.

City of Biloxi, City of Gulfport, and Harrison County, Mississippi – New authorization for $15,000,000 for water and wastewater related infrastructure.

City of Jackson, Mississippi – $25,000,000 for water and wastewater infrastructure.

Pearl River Basin Mississippi – WRDA includes language that allows for flexibility in designing a project that provides for flood control for Metro-Jackson and also addresses some potential economic development benefits.

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