Scott Submits Testimony to the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Highlighting 3rd District Priorities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) submitted the following testimony to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development highlighting the need to fund certain programs that will directly impact the 3rd Congressional District of Virginia.
“Good morning, and thank you Chairman Simpson, Ranking Member Kaptur, and Members of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development for allowing me this time to discuss some of the priorities I believe should be reflected in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2018.
“The 3rd District of Virginia, which I represent, lies at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on the banks of the James, Nansemond, and Elizabeth Rivers, presenting both challenges and opportunities. For two centuries, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has worked to keep America’s waterways and ports open to trade, while working with communities to ensure that they are able to live with the water in their community.
“As you know, the Army Corps of Engineers allows for the much needed construction and maintenance of projects to help ensure that commerce continues to move smoothly through our ports and across our waterways, and that our communities are better able to live with and manage water. My district is home to the Port of Virginia, one of the largest and busiest ports on the eastern seaboard. With 95 percent of our nation’s trade moving by water, funding for the Army Corps is absolutely essential to maintaining current channel depth and ensuring that the Port of Virginia and other ports are able to serve large post-Panamax ships as they look to call to port on the East Coast.
“Mr. Chairman, Congress must give the Army Corps the resources necessary to develop and maintain modern seaports. To do so, I ask that the Subcommittee provide $2.9 billion in Fiscal Year 2018 to the Navigation Program to support coastal and inland waterway projects. This slight increase in what the House proposed for Fiscal Year 2017 would allow for the Corps to study, construct, and maintain important navigation projects in order to allow the United States to maintain a modern seaport system for the modern global economy.
“Specifically, I request the Subcommittee dedicate $1.615 billion to Coastal Navigation, with $1.3 billion for Coastal Navigation Operations and Maintenance, $250 million for Coastal Navigation Construction, and $50 million for the Donor and Energy Transfer Ports Program.
“Funding at these levels will allow the Corps to better maintain federal navigation channels, and to construct important navigation projects like the Craney Island Eastward Expansion at the Port of Virginia. This project is an innovative example of making use of dredged material that will, once the site is filled, become a new terminal built by and for the Port of Virginia. With a robust Navigation Program, these are the sorts of projects we will be able to undertake.
“However, the Corps also funds smaller projects across the country and in Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, which are equally important to ensuring safe transport across waterways. In Chesapeake, Virginia, the Deep Creek Bridge Project will replace a functionally obsolete bridge constructed in 1934 spanning the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and is aimed at reducing daily bottlenecks. While this may seem like a small project, these sorts of projects, and this project in particular is regionally important and will help communities thrive.
“It is also critically important to the communities I represent that sufficient funding be appropriated for the Army Corps Civil/Investigations account for Flood Risk Management. Ensuring that the Corps is able to in a timely fashion complete Flood Risk Management feasibility studies allows towns, cities, counties, and states across the nation the ability to adequately plan their communities and prepare for the possibility of rising waters. Cities of the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, and the City of Norfolk in particular, have continually experienced recurrent flooding. Norfolk is specifically at risk from flooding due to high tides, nor’easters, and hurricanes, and has been ranked second at risk to these types of threats behind only New Orleans. As the home of Naval Station Norfolk and numerous other federal and military facilities, this recurrent flooding also poses a severe national security risk.
“Extreme weather events will always be a concern, and this funding is absolutely essential to complete flood risk management studies and give communities like those in Hampton Roads the ability to plan proactively to mitigate future risks.
“Mr. Chairman, thank you again for allowing me the chance to testify here today. I look forward to working with you to ensure adequate funding for these programs.”
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