WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II applauded House approval today of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) conference report, a compromise between the House and Senate that streamlines water infrastructure projects and strengthens America’s maritime competitiveness. The WRRDA bill also includes a provision Southerland fought for to resolve the tri-state water dispute that has put Apalachicola Bay and its oyster fishery in danger.
“This WRRDA bill represents a major victory for North Florida’s oystermen, coastal businesses and maritime industries. I am proud this legislation includes a hard-fought provision I championed aimed at ending unchecked upriver water withdrawals that have devastated Apalachicola Bay and its surrounding communities. Furthermore, the much-needed reforms and resources included in this bill will enhance Florida’s 15 deepwater ports and strengthen our position to capitalize on future opportunities associated with the expansion of the Panama Canal.”
KEY PROVISIONS IN WRRDA BILL:
- Ensures 100% of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) goes to their intended purpose of operation and maintenance activities by 2025
- Supports underserved and emerging ports, such as Port Panama City and Port of Port St. Joe, by allocating 10% of the HMTF on harbors with an output below 1 million tons annually
- Streamlines environmental reviews and consolidates unnecessary studies
- Utilizes no earmarks