CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD SECURES GUAM PROVISIONS

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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

 

NEWS RELEASE September 25, 2002

IN U.S. WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2002

Congressman Robert A. Underwood's three provisions to benefit Guam were included in H.R. 5428, the Water Resources Development Act of 2002, which the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today favorably reported to the House Floor. The Congressman sought the inclusion of his proposals at the bill's hearing in April 2002.

The proposals would reauthorize the Hagåtña River Flood Control Project, increase the local cost sharing waiver requirements on Army Corps projects, and provide Guam and other remote areas greater flexibility to qualify for harbor and navigation improvement projects.

"The Hagåtña River Flood Control Project is a high priority for Guam and my provision would reauthorize it for an additional seven years," the Congressman said. "GovGuam risks losing FEMA funding for failing to begin work on this project, which is vital to public safety and the economic security of the businesses in the area."

The Hagåtña River Flood Control Project was studied by the Army Corps in 1977 and authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, but because the Government of Guam was unable to meet the local matching requirements, no federal funds were provided for the project. Congressman Underwood's second provision would increase the waiver of the local cost sharing requirements from $200,000 to $500,000. The waiver increase would apply to Guam, the CNMI, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and for the first time, to Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives.

"Guam and the other Pacific islands and the distant non-contiguous states, like Hawai‘i and Alaska, are dependent on maritime transportation. But these areas currently do not meet the Army Corps of Engineers' National Economic Development guidelines, which don't take into account our economic dependence on our harbors," the Congressman. "The third provision, the Remote and Subsistence Harbors provision, would allow the Army Secretary to recommend navigation and harbor improvement projects even if they cannot be justified solely on national economic development benefits."

The Water Resources Development Act authorizes the Secretary of the Army, through the Corps of Engineers, to carry out civil works projects and studies for improvements to rivers and harbors, flood damage reduction, and environmental restoration, and for other purposes.

For additional information, contact: Cathy Gault at 671-477-4272

Washington office: 2418 Rayburn Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Tel: 202-225-1188 Fax: 202-226-0341 Email: guamtodc@mail.house.gov 

Guam office: 120 Fr. Duenas Ave., Ste 107 Hagatna, GU 96932 Tel: 671-477-4272 Fax: 671-477-2587

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