Casey Urges Inclusion of Millvale Flood Provision in WRDA Bill

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today wrote to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to help ensure the final Water Resources Development Act legislation includes language outlining a long-term solution to deal with flooding problems in and around Millvale and other western Pennsylvania communities.  The provisions would allow for the study, design and construction of flood control measures.

“As the Senate moves towards final consideration of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007, I write to express my strong support for provisions of vital importance to Western Pennsylvania,” wrote Senator Casey.  “Inclusion of these provisions has become even more urgent due to recent flooding that has hit Millvale Borough and other surrounding communities.”

The final WRDA legislation will likely be voted on by the Senate when Congress returns in September.  President Bush has threatened to veto this legislation.  In light of President Bush’s 2004 trip to Millvale where he pledged federal support for flood control in the area, President Bush should reconsider his veto threat.

The flood control language was originally inserted into the WRDA bill by Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA)

A copy of the letter is attached.

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August 23, 2007

 

Honorable Barbara Boxer                            Honorable James M. Inhofe

Chairman                                                Ranking Member

Committee on Environment                         Committee on Environment

and Public Works                                      and PublicWorks                 

United States Senate                                United States Senate

 

Dear Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe:

As the Senate moves towards final consideration of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007, I write to express my strong support for two provisions of vital importance to Western Pennsylvania.  Inclusion of these provisions has become even more urgent due to recent flooding that has hit Millvale Borough and other surrounding communities in Allegheny County. 

At the request of my friend and colleague Congressman Mike Doyle, the WRDA 2007 conference report (Report 110-80) includes a provision in Section 5154 that would authorize the Corps to study, design, and construct necessary flood protection measures in Millvale and Etna Boroughs.  This provision would allow the Corps to implement structural and nonstructural flood control initiatives, as well as streambank protection, channel clearing and modification, and stormwater management measures. This provision would add these communities to the Section 581 West Virginia and Pennsylvania Flood Control program while increasing the authorized funding for this program from $12 million to $90 million. 

Section 4077 of WRDA 2007 conference report, entitled “Western Pennsylvania flood damage reduction,” would authorize study(ies) in named watersheds and communities, including Shaler Township which is upstream of Millvale and part of the Girty's Run watershed.  Upon authorization, it is my understanding that the Corps would have the authority to undertake a reconnaissance study, followed by a feasibility study to evaluate and recommend actions to reduce flood risks.  While the reconnaissance study would be undertaken at federal expense, the cost of the feasibility study would be equally divided between federal and non-federal sources. I am advised that a portion of the non-federal cost share can be in the form of in-kind contributions.

While I understand that funding will need to be subsequently provided through the appropriations process and that these initiatives will compete for funding with other projects around the nation, inclusion of these provisions in the final version of WRDA is a crucial first step in bringing comprehensive flood protection to Millvale, Etna, and other parts of the Girty’s Run and Pine Creek watersheds.

Thank you for the opportunity to present my views on this important matter.  I appreciate your assistance on this and other matters of importance to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator            

 

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