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House Passes Maloney’s Dam Safety Act as Part of Major Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement

May 20, 2014
Press Release
Hudson Valley Home to Nearly 100 High Hazard, Potentially Catastrophic Dams

Washington, DC -  One year after Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) initially introduced the Dam Safety Act, the House of Representatives passed these critical dam safety provisions as part of the final Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) by a vote of 412-4.  In addition to $70 million for dam safety programs, WRRDA invests in water resources infrastructure through innovative financing programs like the new Water Infrastructure and Innovative Financing Act (WIFIA) program, improves access to drinking water through the Clean Water State Revolving Funds, invests in small and new emerging ports like the future Port of Newburgh, and provides protection against extreme weather events like Hurricanes Irene, Lee and Sandy.  

 “We get results when we work together in a bipartisan fashion, and focus on real problems like investing in our crumbling infrastructure. The Dam Safety Act and the larger Water Resources Reform and Development Act are good examples of what Congress should be doing to create jobs, grow our local economy, and keep Hudson Valley families safe,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “We see too many examples of Congress focused on the wrong things, but this is an example of where Congress left politics at the door and got results.”

 “The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) would like to extend its gratitude for Congressman Maloney’s continued efforts as a champion for the National Dam Safety Program. ASCE is pleased that this important program is going to be reauthorized through the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. This investment in dam safety and dam safety programs is crucial because it will protect lives and improve our economy. It ensures that our ports, waterways, dams and levees receive much needed funding and that we can start raising the grades on our nation’s infrastructure,” said Brian Pallasch, Managing Director of Government Relations & Infrastructure Initiatives for American Society of Civil Engineers.

 “The Association of State Dam Safety Officials thanks Congressman Maloney for his leadership in leading to get this bill passed. Reauthorization of the National Dam Safety Program is very important to all of the state dam safety programs throughout the country. It is a small program but it does provide a great benefit in mitigating potential disasters from dam failures,” said Mark Ogden, Association of State Dam Safety Officials.

 “This is really the support that we needed. This is just a critical piece of legislation, it is all about plumbing isn’t it, it is sometimes the things you don’t see in your house, the things you sometimes don’t see in your nation that need the most attention. I am very grateful for the work Congressman Maloney and his staff have done,” said Michael Newhard, Mayor of Warwick.

 “Thank you Congressman Maloney for your bipartisan and hard work of getting this Dam Safety Act in WRRDA passed. Our city is more than 100 years old and we have old infrastructure. With the help of this act we will be able to keep up with our dams and make sure they are safe for people,” said Randy Casale, Mayor of Beacon.

According to new survey by Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, 82% of municipalities do not have sufficient water supply to meet future demands. Water infrastructure is perceived to be in the worst shape with 60% of respondents rating their water infrastructure as “needing work in the next three years” or “at risk of imminent failure.”  

Through WRRDA, Congress authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out its missions to dredge our ports, strengthen our infrastructure against extreme weather, provide flood mitigation, and restore important environmental ecosystems. Historically, Congress has passed this legislation every two years to provide clear direction to the Administration and the Corps, but no bill has been signed into law since 2007. Last April, Representative Maloney introduced standalone legislation, the Dam Safety Act, to give communities the support they need to ensure dams have the highest safety standards possible. Specifically, it reauthorizes the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP), which provides vital support to assist states like New York in developing Emergency Action Plans (EAPs), public awareness, implementing existing dam safety programs, assisting with the purchase of equipment, and conducting dam inspections. Rep. Maloney’s legislation passed the House of Representatives as part of the bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) in October.  The conference report heads to the Senate then to the President’s desk.