The Senate voted 83 to 14 Wednesday morning to pass the Water Resources Development Act. The American Soybean Association cheered the move. ASA President Danny Murphy says improving and investing in our waterways infrastructure is vital to the U.S. soybean industry. With more than half of the U.S. soybean crop exported – he says farmers depend on an efficient transportation system to remain competitive in global markets. Murphy says the ability to get U.S. products to market quickly and efficiently is one aspect that sets the industry apart from competitors. He says we can’t afford to ignore the needs of that infrastructure. ASA is calling on the House to pass the bill quickly.
WRDA – S. 601 – includes provisions to annually increase the amount of funding is provided from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for port maintenance and dredging; to streamline the process for Corps of Engineers projects and reduce project completion times; and to free up money and increase the capacity of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund by taking the Olmsted Lock and Dam project out of the trust fund account.
ASA was also pleased to see the adoption of an amendment offered by Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas and James Inhofe of Oklahoma to exempt certain farms that store oil in aboveground tanks from federal oil spill regulations. The amendment would set storage tank thresholds below which agricultural operations would be excluded from U.S. EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Rule.
The Senate did not include measures to increase revenue for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and establish alternative financing mechanisms in order to provide more money to address inland waterways infrastructure projects.
Source: NAFB news service