U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold (TX-27) recently joined a House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources & Environment hearing titled “A Review of Recent United States Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s Reports and Post Authorization Change Reports”.
This hearing aimed to provide Members with an opportunity to review the current Chief’s Reports and Post Authorization Change Reports (PACRs) pending before Congress.
The Congressman joined the hearing after learning that, just last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unilaterally decided to stop complying with a 2006 Management Protocol Agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and change the way it honors NMFS requests as they relate to the Corps construction and dredging projects, including the Brazos Island Harbor Project at the Port of Brownsville in Texas.
The Port of Brownsville has been a partner with the Corps since it was constructed back in 1936 and has worked hand in hand with the agency on environmental issues over the years. Yet, as the Congressman noted, it seems that the Corps has embarked on a major policy shift regarding requests from the NMFS, potentially delaying the Brazos Island Harbor Project and other deserving projects.
During the hearing, Congressman Farenthold expressed his concerns that, by moving the goal posts, the Corps’ decision could potentially lead to a situation where project sponsors run into substantial delays, many years and many millions of dollars down the road.
Dredging Today Staff, May 13, 2014