WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, and U.S. Representative Paul E. Kanjorski announced final passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA). The conference report contains two projects of particular importance for Northeastern Pennsylvania, a region that has experienced significant flooding in the past years.
The conference report authorizes $50 million for construction of Solomon Creek Flood Protection in Luzerne County. The flood protection construction will take place along Solomon Creek in Wilkes-Barre and will be incorporated into the existing Wyoming Valley Levee Raising project. The City of Wilkes-Barre has experienced significant flooding and extensive damages from Solomon Creek many times over the past decades, including 1972, 1975, 1985, 1996, 2004 and, most recently, in June 2006. This provision would permit the Army Corps of Engineers to construct a project to protect more than 300 homes and businesses from flooding along Solomon Creek.
WRDA also authorizes $44.5 million for construction of the Bloomsburg Flood Control Project in Columbia County. Residents of Bloomsburg have continually been subject to the risks of flooding from both the Susquehanna River and Fishing Creek. This project involves the construction of earthen levees, concrete floodwalls and closure structures that will stretch for three miles and protect 550 homes and 32 businesses, including the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds.
“I am pleased that Congress has recognized the importance of these water projects to the residents and businesses of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Specter. “Securing WRDA authorization represents a key step in creating and maintaining the region’s flood control measures.”
“Northeastern Pennsylvania will benefit greatly from Congress passing the first Water Resources Development Act in seven years,” said Casey. “The Northeast has a history of flooding, and this bill will help the area both endure and quickly recover from unexpected flooding.”
“These two projects represent an expenditure of nearly $100 million to protect the residents of Wilkes-Barre and Bloomsburg. Thanks to many years of support from Senator Specter and the immediate attention of Senator Casey, I look forward to getting these projects constructed,” said Congressman Kanjorski.
Once authorized through WRDA, the Corps’ projects are eligible for funding through the Energy and Water Appropriations Bills. The bill will now be sent to the President for his signature. Congress typically passes WRDA bills every two years, but the last WRDA was passed in 2000.