The House of Representatives voted in a strong bipartisan manner to pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA) by a margin of 417 to 3. This legislation would authorize flood protection projects across the nation; and at Congresswoman Matsui’s urging, includes several of the Sacramento region’s primary flood protection priorities.
“Today’s vote is a major victory for the people of Sacramento. Congress has not passed a WRRDA bill since 2007, and I am pleased the bill passed today includes many of Sacramento’s top flood protection priorities. The passage of this bill is a critical step toward fixing and strengthening America’s levees, including our levees in Natomas,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Natomas’ levees protect over 100,000 Sacramento residents and billions of dollars of property and infrastructure. This has been a long time coming, and I won’t stop fighting until this is signed into law.”
The House version of WRRDA includes language similar to Congresswoman Matsui’s bill, the “Natomas Basin Flood Protection Improvements Act” (H.R. 135) which would authorize the Natomas Levee Improvement Program (NLIP). This provision would authorize full federal participation in the NLIP, which will restore 100-year flood protection and ultimately achieve 200-year level flood protection. WRRDA also includes language similar to Congresswoman Matsui’s legislation, the “Levee Vegetation Review Act” (H.R. 399), to provide flexibility in the Corps’ vegetation on levees policy.
“With today’s House vote, thousands of my constituents and neighbors are one critical step closer to having the level of flood protection they deserve. I’m grateful to Congresswoman Matsui for her tireless advocacy to improve our levee system, and for the bipartisan effort that has brought us this far,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, Chair of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA).
“This bill was a long time coming and we are happy it has finally been passed. For years we have lived with the threat of flooding when it rains. We have worried about our flood insurance rates increasing. Now we look forward to our proud community’s revival and are grateful to Congresswoman Matsui for her persistence and perseverance in getting it passed,” said Sheila Snyder, a Natomas homeowner.
Under the leadership of Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and David Vitter (R-LA) the Senate passed its version of the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) earlier this year. This legislation also included language authorizing the NLIP and Rep. Matsui’s vegetation on levees language. The House WRRDA now moves to a conference committee with Members from the House and the Senate to reconcile the two versions of the bill.
“I am confident that the House and the Senate will move quickly to a conference committee on this legislation, and I will continue to fight to see this legislation signed into law. We need to get this done immediately for our country, and for the people of Sacramento who have waited far too long for authorization of the NLIP,” added Matsui.
Press Release, October 30, 2013