House panel snags on Army Corps reforms

A House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee moved ahead Thursday with a bill authorizing two years of water projects for the Army Corps of Engineers, despite being unable to reach agreement on a package of reforms to how the agency chooses projects.

The Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee by voice vote approved the bill to provide authorization for navigation, flood control, shoreline protection and other projects carried out by the Corps.

Among the projects and studies included in the bill are more than 50 that deal with navigation improvements and more than 90 related to flood control, as well as 80 environmental restoration projects and studies.

The bill also is expected to include a package of reforms aimed at improving how the Army Corps of Engineers determines proposed projects. But committee members were still in negotiations on the issue.

Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Duncan, R-Tenn., and others said they are optimistic that committee members will reach agreement before the full committee takes up the bill.

A handful of Democrats, including Oberstar, expressed concern about language in a manager's amendment, which was adopted by voice vote, aimed at streamlining the process for conducting environmental reviews of projects.

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