New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman yesterday voted for an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act, which would have prioritized projects for the Army Corps of Engineers (yes, that Army Corps of Engineers).
The act authorizes billions of dollars for projects across the country. Unfortunately, most of the money is never spent, because the Corps’ projects are not prioritized and there’s a huge backlog of work to be done. Still, members of Congress can go home to their constituents and say, “I helped get millions of dollars for (insert project name here).”
Bingaman was one of 19 senators to vote for the amendment, which failed. Several other reforms were adopted, however, including modernizing the Corps’ policy guidelines, strengthening project environmental mitigation requirements, and requiring indepdent review of Corps projects. Hopefully, the Senate can keep the new reforms when conference committee time comes around.
For more information, check the National Wildlife Federation.