07.14.16

Peters Speaks on Congress’ Failure to Act on Aid for Flint

WASHINGTON, D.C. -U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) spoke on the Senate Floor this afternoon on Congress’ failure to act on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which includes a bipartisan agreement that would provide aid to the City of Flint and other communities across the country dealing with water infrastructure issues. Click here to watch a video of his remarks.

“I rise today to speak about the need to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, known as WRDA.

“Despite strong, bipartisan support, the Senate still has yet to take a vote on this commonsense, necessary legislation.

“Frankly, I’m disappointed. WRDA will help communities across the nation who need to repair, expand, or modernize their water infrastructure. The bill invests in the nation’s ports and inland waterways to improve commerce, and moves us toward major upgrades to locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River System.

“WRDA will improve flood protection in order to better safeguard communities from damage. It will restore ecosystems and promote public access for recreation.

“This legislation empowers local partners in water resource project implementation and improves the approval process for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects.

“WRDA promotes innovative technologies to address water resources challenges, including additional support to drought-stricken communities.

“This bill also makes essential investments in drinking water and waste water infrastructure, including emergency assistance to communities facing drinking water contamination like Flint, Michigan.

“Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet with families from Flint.  The devastating water crisis continues to have an unimaginable impact on children and families there. I was heartbroken to hear more about some of their struggles, and inspired by their resiliency.

“The provisions that are included in the WRDA bill will help ensure that Flint residents will have the resources and support necessary to address this ongoing tragedy. WRDA will help communities across the country with drinking water and infrastructure challenges.  It will modernize the State Revolving Loan Fund programs and capitalizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program – or WIFIA – a new low interest financing mechanism to fund large dollar-value infrastructure projects around the nation.

“The many benefits of the WRDA bill, from drinking water protections to waterway improvements to waterbody restoration, is why it enjoys broad, diverse support.

“Over 100 different stakeholder organizations have called on the Senate to bring WRDA to the floor before July 15th. Those groups include: The American Society of Civil Engineers; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Nature Conservancy; United Steelworkers; National Association of Counties; National League of Cities; U.S. Conference of Mayors, and National Association of Clean Water Agencies.

“Our dedicated partners across the aisle are also ready to move on this important legislation. Senator Inhofe recently joined 28 of his Republican colleagues on a letter to Senate Republican leadership calling for a vote.

“The Environment and Public Works Committee passed the Water Resources Development Act with strong, overwhelming bipartisan support—a vote of 19-1.

“This common-sense bill is ready for a vote in the Senate. Communities across our country – including the families of Flint – are ready and waiting for us to act.

“I truly hope that the WRDA bill can be prioritized for action on the floor when we return in September – we simply must act.”