Senate Democrats

Ten Reasons Democrats Have Overridden the President’s Veto of the Water Resources Development Act

President Bush vetoed the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA) on November 2, 2007.  Democrats in the House and Senate responded by overriding President Bush’s veto in the House on November 6, 2007 by a vote of 361 to 54 and in the Senate on November 8, 2007 by a vote of 79 to 14.  Enacting WRDA into law will protect millions of Gulf Coast residents from catastrophic hurricanes and floods.  The new law will also protect sensitive areas like the Florida Everglades and Mississippi River and improve water quality across the country.   Here are ten reasons why Democrats have overridden the President’s veto of WRDA:

  1. Improves Hurricane Protection for Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.  WRDA will help protect the Gulf Coast from dangerous storms like Hurricane Katrina.  The new law will help restore coastal wetlands critical to protecting against storm damage, give New Orleans increased hurricane protections, and allow for a peer review process of construction work performed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
  1. Ensures levee safety.  There are several thousand miles of levees across the country that provide critical flood protection to communities.  WRDA will create a national levee safety program and allow inspections on the general condition of levees throughout the country.
  1. Improves flood control.  WRDA will help provide for flood control projects that will help local communities meet the increasing dangers posed by catastrophic flooding.  The new law will help bring New Orleanians and other Louisiana Gulf Coast residents 100-year flood protection and quicken the ability of the Secretary of the Army to act on critical flood control projects.  The law will also give critically-needed flood protection for Sacramento, the nation’s largest metropolitan area with less than 100-year flood protection.
  1. Continues restoration for the Florida Everglades and helps restore the coastal wetlands of Louisiana.  WRDA will strengthen efforts to restore wetlands that provide multiple benefits to coastal communities and the environment.  The Florida Everglades, which are one of the world’s largest wetland areas, protect Florida from hurricanes and provide wildlife habitat to thousands of plant and animal species.  WRDA will also help restore Louisiana’s naturally-protective and ecologically-significant coastal wetlands.  These wetlands are critical to Louisiana’s coastal fishing industry and serve as a protective barrier against storms like Hurricane Katrina.
  1. Re-nourishes and restores beaches.  Hurricanes and tropical storms can erode beaches, which eliminates key natural defenses and, over time, can cause loss of life and extensive property damage.  WRDA will help provide the tools necessary to restore beaches that have been damaged by “storm surges” and the coastal communities they put at risk.
  1. Addresses the spread of aquatic invasive species.  The spread of aquatic invasive species, from both inside and outside the United States, can cause serious harm to natural ecosystems and water supply and treatment systems.  The enactment of WRDA will help avert the spread of aquatic invasive species that jeopardize countless aquatic ecosystem restoration projects.
  1. Mandates independent fiscal and environmental reviews.  The failures of the levees in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina highlighted the need for independent reviews of Army Corps projects.  WRDA will bring independent parties into a position to offer recommendations that could improve project models, provide environmental benefits, and save money.
  1. Averts further shoreline and streambank degradation.  The loss of shoreline and streambank quality can have serious negative impacts on wildlife habitats, increase water pollution, and threaten recreational areas.  The new law will help bring much-needed support to state and local governments that are working to protect pristine areas of the country.
  1. Improves shipping on the Mississippi River.  The Mississippi River and its tributaries are vital waterways that are used to ship goods across the country, especially agricultural products from the heartland.  The new law will help improve shipping on the Mississippi River and address the cumulative environmental impact of operation of the system.
  1. Increases oversight of the Army Corps of Engineers.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended an allocation of approximately $5.4 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers for Fiscal Year 2008.  WRDA will give the public access to water resources (and water quality) data, allow the Secretary of the Army to prepare a set of wide-ranging accountability reports, and move forward with plans to make copies of relevant documents available on the Internet.