SFWMD Submits Plan to Army Corps For Approval
U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18), who has been a longtime proponent of the S.B. 10-authorized EAA Storage Reservoir, is pushing a plan to expedite federal authorization and construction of the reservoir. South Florida Water Management District submitted its plan to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for approval today.
“The water being discharged from Lake Okeechobee onto the Treasure Coast is destroying our community, putting people out of business, killing sea life and even making people sick. This reservoir is a critical step forward to restore our lagoon and beaches, and we cannot afford to wait another two years as it drowns in federal bureaucracy. This exact moment is why I fought so hard to be named Vice Chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, and I will do everything in my power to ensure we get this project started without any further delays.”
The Army Corps must review, approve and submit the project to Congress prior to Congressional authorization and construction work beginning, but there is a substantial timing issue that could delay the project by another two years. Federal authorization of projects like the reservoir occur as part of the Water Resources and Development Act, which Congress considers only every other year. Congress is expected to consider the 2018 Water Resources and Development Act this spring, but the Army Corps is not expected to approve the project prior to the bill’s consideration. S.B. 10 set a deadline of October 1, 2018 for this to occur.
To avoid a 2-year bureaucratic delay, Rep. Mast has been pushing a plan to conditionally authorize the project as part of the 2018 Water Resources and Development Act contingent on the Army Corps’ approval. Under Rep. Mast’s plan, the EAA Storage Reservoir would be automatically authorized as soon as the Army Corps signs off on the plan, expediting the overall completion timeline by more than two years. Rep. Mast’s letter to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster pushing this plan is attached.
Rep. Mast also joined a bipartisan group of his Florida Congressional colleagues on a letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (who oversees the Army Corps) supporting the EAA Storage Reservoir proposal and urging expedited review.
South Florida Water Management District’s press release announcing submission of the project to the Army Corps can be found here.