Alabama's two Senators have blocked the nomination of John Paul Woodley, Jr., President Bush's choice to be assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, the Pentagon official who oversees the Army Corps of Engineers, aides say. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, both Republicans, have put a hold on Woodley's nomination because of Alabama's dispute with Georgia over the availability of water from the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa and Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basins.

Water dispute with Georgia delays Woodley's nomination.

Shelby put his hold on Woodley on April 14, and will delay floor consideration of the nomination until he feels "that the [Alabama] delegation's concerns have been adequately addressed," says a spokesperson.

Also on Apr. 14, Shelby, Sessions and Alabama's seven House members wrote Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the Army's chief of engineers, saying it appears that recent actions by the Corps and Georgia "will immediately and irreparably harm the ability of the citizens of Alabama to access water from these basins."

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on April 13 approved Woodley for the Army's top civil works job, but the action by Shelby and Sessions prevents the nomination from going to the floor for a vote. A "hold" by even one Senator can block a nomination.

In August 2003 Woodley received a recess appointment from Bush to the assistant secretary's post. But that appointment expired last December with the end of the 108th Congress. Since then, Woodley has been principal deputy assistant secretary.

Before going to the civil works office, Woodley had been assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for environment. From 1998 to 2001, he was Virginia's secretary of natural resources.