Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District voted this week in support of H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. The bipartisan legislation authorizes funding for the Army Corps of Engineers for improvements to America’s ports, waterways, and projects tied to flood protection and environmental restoration.
“While I would have preferred a bill that reflected the Senate-passed version that better allows the Army Corps of Engineers to properly manage our critical habitat, assess flood damage caused by the destruction of wildfires, and meet the vital needs of water infrastructure in New Mexico, this legislation provides the House with an opportunity to move forward toward a conference committee with the Senate,” Congressman Luján said. “Moving through the regular order to address the differences between the bills will enable Congress to produce legislation that will authorize important improvements to New Mexico’s dams, rivers, and water infrastructure. I will encourage the conference committee to support the Senate language that addresses critical priorities for New Mexico.”
Luján offered several amendments to improve the House legislation that were not made in order by the Republican-led Rules Committee, and he will continue to advocate for vital programs such as the Rio Grande Environmental Management Program.
“One aspect that was left out of this bill that would have been addressed by one of my amendments is the extension of the Rio Grande Environmental Management Program,” Luján added. “The Rio Grande watershed is the fifth largest in North America, covering the states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. My amendment would have extended the life of the project to 2024 and allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to assess flood damage reduction measures for floods in the aftermath of wildfires – fires that have turned our watershed and Rio Grande black with soot and debris. Assessing the damage done by fires is critical for us to understand how to deal with future challenges. I am hopeful that when the House and Senate works out the differences on this bill that the reauthorization of this important program will be included.”