Thune Statement on Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today applauded the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan America’s Water Infrastructure Act, a comprehensive water resources infrastructure bill that will authorize U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects for port, waterway, flood protection, and other water infrastructure improvements; reauthorize the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for the first time in two decades; and improve several energy-related projects, among many other provisions. The bill, which was approved by a vote of 99-1, now heads to the president to be signed into law.

“For years, the Republican-led Senate has been delivering positive results for the American people, and today’s passage of this bipartisan infrastructure legislation is one more accomplishment we can add to the list,” said Thune. “This bill, which will benefit all 50 states, including South Dakota, will make important investments in infrastructure, help keep America’s communities safe and healthy, cut burdensome government red tape, and contribute to additional economic growth.”

Highlights:

  • Maintains the prohibition on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to charge for surplus water on the Missouri River. During consideration of the Water Resources and Development Act of 2014, Thune worked to secure a 10-year prohibition on the Corps’ controversial surplus water proposal. This legislation extends that prohibition for an additional two years and expands it to include water storage fees;
  • Expedites the review of certain easement requests on the Upper Missouri Mainstem reservoirs. As a result of the Corps’ proposal to charge for surplus water taken from Missouri River reservoirs, the Corps has failed to process certain easement requests. This legislation will ensure that the Corps responds to these easement requests in a timely manner; and

Expands eligible Tribal Partnership Program projects from $10 million to $12.5 million and allows separable project components to be completed under the program. In an effort to help address significant shoreline erosion that is affecting the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, in 2014, Thune secured language directing the Corps to review shoreline erosion projects in the Upper Missouri River Basin. This legislation provides additional flexibility for this and other projects to move forward.

# # #