Army Corps of Engineers
Bill includes $2 billion for bigger river locks in Midwest

The Senate has approved legislation that authorizes $23 billion for Army Corps of Engineers river locks and dams, harbor dredging and environmental restoration work around the country and also mandates independent reviews of large Corps projects. But the White House has threatened a veto of the measure, contending that it is too costly.

The Senate's 81-12 vote on Sept. 24 represents final congressional action on the voluminous Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). If the measure is enacted, it would be the first WRDA to become law since December 2000.

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The Senate's margin and the House's 381-40 vote on Aug. 1 are well above the two-thirds majorities needed to override a veto.

The final measure, which represents an agreement between House and Senate negotiators, totals $23.2 billion in authorizations over 15 years, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Sept. 24. That compares with $14.9 billion for the version that the House passed in April and $13.9 billion for the bill the Senate approved in May, CBO says.

Among the major programs and projects authorized in the new WRDA are:

  • $3.9 billion for the upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterways, including nearly $2 billion for seven new, 1,200-foot-long locks and $1.7 billion for environmental restoration
  • more than $7 billion for Louisiana, according to CBO, including about $1.9 billion for coastal restoration
  • $1.8 billion for restoration in Florida's Everglades.