Environmental Policy News

Congress Acts to Strengthen U.S. Maritime Infrastructure and Restore Everglades

In one of their last acts before leaving for their holiday break, the U.S. House and Senate approved the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act.

Among other things, the act supports America’s maritime infrastructure by ensuring that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund has the resources needed to maintain U.S. ports and harbors. Approximately 40 percent of all goods moved on the nation's waterways are crude oil or petroleum products.

Title I of the Act supports U.S. economic competitiveness and well-being by deepening nationally significant ports, providing protection from disastrous flood waters, and restoring valuable ecosystems. The Act also addresses drinking water needs, regulation of coal ash, protection of significant tribal and natural resources issues, and various other matters ranging from funding a Chesapeake Bay grass survey to requiring guidelines for environmental banks under the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act. It reauthorizes the Estuary Restoration Act of 2000 and funds a restoration program for the Columbia River Basin.

The Act also authorizes the long-awaited Central Everglades Planning Project.

A statement from the Everglades Foundation said, “CEPP can bring approximately 67 billion gallons of water to improve the habitat in Florida Bay, especially preventing future seagrass die-offs currently threatening valuable fisheries in the Florida Keys.”

A full summary of the Act can be found here.

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