The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) supports swift Congressional action regarding the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) (H.R. 3080). The new legislation, which hasn’t been reauthorized since 2007, has wide bipartisan Congressional support and the support of waterways users, including TFI.
Farmers in the United States use close to 70 million tons of fertilizer each year, much of which travels through U.S. ports and harbors and the inland water system. For this reason, water infrastructure improvements are vitally important to the fertilizer industry.
“Water transport is an integral component of the fertilizer distribution system, and we urge the House to act quickly to approve the Water Resources Development Act,” said TFI President Chris Jahn. “Our farmer customers count on the timely delivery of fertilizers by river transport, and this legislation will greatly enhance the industry’s ability to ensure that our products reach growers’ fields when they are needed.”
The legislation sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies to streamline environmental reviews; establishes a new process for Congress to review and prioritize future projects; authorizes needed investments in ports; preserves the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and sets target expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, increasing them each year so that by Fiscal Year 2020 and beyond, no less than 80 percent of the collected funds go to the operation and maintenance of U.S. harbors and ports.
WRDA was introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Penn.), Ranking Minority Leader Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and Ranking Minority Leader Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.)
The House committee has set an aggressive timeline for WRDA action with committee mark-up scheduled for Sept. 19, full House consideration within the first two weeks of October and final passage anticipated by the end of this year.