Monday, December 19, 2011

Last Minute Spending Bill Rider Blocks Army Corps from Implementing Updated Water Policy

A rider added at the last minute to a large Federal spending package passed by the House would block the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing updates to the U.S. water resource management policy (known as the "Principles and Guidelines;" under development by the White House Council on Environmental Quality) for the next Fiscal Year (see this Environment and Engineering news article on the rider and its impact - PDF file).  On Friday (December 9), the House passed a massive ($1 trillion) Federal appropriations ("megabus") bill that will fund the Federal government through the remainder of the 2012 Fiscal Year.  The rider was among several attached to the legislation.  Final passage of the spending package came on a 67-32 Senate roll call vote on Saturday, which followed on a 296-121 bipartisan House vote on Friday afternoon.

The rider, in its entirety, reads:
"Water Resources Principles and Guidelines.-No funds are provided for the line item proposed for Water Resources Principles and Guidelines, as this is considered a new start. No funds provided to the Corps shall be used to develop or implement rules or guidance if an update or replacement to the document dated March 10, 1983, and entitled "Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources Implementation Studies" is finalized during the fiscal year period covered by the Energy and Water Development Act for 2012. The Corps shall continue to use the Water Resources Principles and Guidelines in effect as of the date of enactment of this Act during that same period."

For additional details, including a summary packet and links to the legislation, visit this House Appropriations Committee web site. 

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