H.R. 1152: Mississippi River Navigation Sustainment Act

113th Congress, 2013–2015. Text as of Mar 14, 2013 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO and Cato Institute Deepbills

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113th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1152

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 14, 2013

(for himself and Mr. Rodney Davis of Illinois) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

A BILL

To provide for the safe and reliable navigation of the Mississippi River, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Mississippi River Navigation Sustainment Act .

2.

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

the Mississippi River is the largest, most famous river in the United States and a vital natural resource;

(2)

the Mississippi River Basin is the third largest watershed in the world, covering more than 1,000,000 square miles and approximately 40 percent of the continental United States;

(3)

the rivers, tributaries, and reservoirs that make up the Mississippi River Basin operate naturally as a system and any attempt to operate projects within the Mississippi River Basin by mankind should take this fact into consideration;

(4)

the Mississippi River is the backbone of the inland waterway system of the United States and a crucial artery for the movement of goods;

(5)

each year millions of tons of commodities, including grain, coal, petroleum, and chemicals, representing billions of dollars are transported on the Mississippi River by barge;

(6)

the Mississippi River is home to some of the busiest commercial ports in the United States, including the Port of New Orleans and the Port of St. Louis;

(7)

safe and reliable navigation of the Mississippi River is vital to the national economy;

(8)

extreme weather events pose challenges to navigation and life along the Mississippi River and are likely to become more severe and more frequent in the coming years, as evidenced by the devastating floods along the Mississippi River in 2011 and the near historic low water levels seen on the same stretch of the Mississippi River in the winter of 2012–2013;

(9)

the American Waterways Operators and the Waterways Council, Incorporated have estimated that a disruption of navigation on the Mississippi River due to low water levels between December 2012 and January 2013 would have negatively impacted 20,000 jobs and $7,000,000,000 in cargo;

(10)

the Regulating Works Program of the St. Louis District of the Corps of Engineers is critical to maintaining navigation on the middle Mississippi River during extreme weather events and should receive continued Federal financial assistance and support; and

(11)

the Federal Government, commercial users, and others have a shared responsibility to take steps to maintain the critical flow of goods on the Mississippi River during extreme weather events.

3.

Definitions

(a)

Extreme weather

The term extreme weather means—

(1)

severe flooding and drought conditions that lead to above or below average water levels; or

(2)

other severe weather events that threaten personal safety, property, and navigation on the inland waterways of the United States.

(b)

Greater Mississippi River Basin

The term greater Mississippi River Basin means the area covered by hydrologic units 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 11, as identified by the United States Geological Survey as of the date of enactment of this Act.

(c)

Lower Mississippi River

The term lower Mississippi River means the portion of the Mississippi River that begins at the confluence of the Ohio River and flows to the Gulf of Mexico.

(d)

Middle Mississippi River

The term middle Mississippi River means the portion of the Mississippi River that begins at the confluence of the Missouri River and flows to the lower Mississippi River.

(e)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers.

4.

Greater Mississippi River Basin Extreme Weather Management Study

(a)

In general

The Secretary shall carry out a study of the Mississippi River Basin—

(1)

to improve the coordinated and comprehensive management of water resource projects in the greater Mississippi River Basin relating to extreme weather conditions; and

(2)

to evaluate the feasibility of any modifications to those water resource projects and develop new water resource projects to improve the reliability of navigation and more effectively reduce flood risk.

(b)

Contents

The study shall—

(1)

identify any Federal actions necessary to prevent and mitigate the impacts of extreme weather, including changes to authorized channel dimensions, operational procedures of locks and dams, and reservoir management within the Mississippi River Basin;

(2)

evaluate the effect on navigation and flood risk management to the Mississippi River of all upstream rivers and tributaries, especially the confluence of the Illinois River, Missouri River, and Ohio River;

(3)

identify and make recommendations to remedy challenges to the Corps of Engineers presented by extreme weather, including river access, in carrying out its mission to maintain safe, reliable navigation; and

(4)

identify and locate natural or other potential impediments to maintaining navigation on the middle and lower Mississippi River during periods of low water, including existing industrial pipeline crossings.

(c)

Consultation and use of existing data

In carrying out the study, the Secretary shall—

(1)

consult with appropriate committees of Congress, Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies, environmental interests, river navigation industry representatives, other shipping and business interests, organized labor, and nongovernmental organizations;

(2)

to the maximum extent practicable, use data in existence on the date of enactment of this Act; and

(3)

incorporate lessons learned and best practices developed as a result of past extreme weather events, including major floods and the successful effort to maintain navigation during the near historic low water levels on the Mississippi River during the winter of 2012–2013.

(d)

Cost-Sharing

The Federal share of the cost of carrying out the study under this section shall be 100 percent.

(e)

Report

Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the study carried out under this section.

5.

Mississippi River forecasting improvements

(a)

In general

The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, the Director of the United States Geological Survey, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Director of the National Weather Service, as applicable, shall improve forecasting on the Mississippi River by—

(1)

updating forecasting technology deployed on the Mississippi River and its tributaries through—

(A)

the construction of additional automated river gages;

(B)

the rehabilitation of existing automated and manual river gages; and

(C)

the replacement of manual river gages with automated gages, as the Secretary determines to be necessary;

(2)

constructing additional sedimentation ranges on the Mississippi River and its tributaries; and

(3)

deploying additional automatic identification system base stations at river gage sites.

(b)

Prioritization

In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall prioritize the sections of the Mississippi River on which additional and more reliable information would have the greatest impact on maintaining navigation on the Mississippi River.

(c)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the activities carried out by the Secretary under this section.

6.

Corps of Engineers flexibility in maintaining navigation

(a)

In general

If the Secretary determines it to be critical to maintaining safe and reliable navigation, the Secretary

(1)

in consultation with the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, may construct ingress and egress paths to docks, loading facilities, fleeting areas, and other critical locations outside of the authorized navigation channel on the Mississippi River; and

(2)

operate and maintain, through dredging and construction of river training structures, ingress and egress paths to loading docks and fleeting areas outside of the authorized navigation channel on the Mississippi River.

(b)

Mitigation

The Secretary may mitigate through dredging any incidental impacts to loading or fleeting areas outside of the authorized navigation channel on the Mississippi River that result from operation and maintenance of the authorized channel.

7.

Middle Mississippi River environmental pilot program

(a)

In general

In accordance with the project for navigation, Mississippi River between the Ohio and Missouri Rivers (Regulating Works), Missouri and Illinois, authorized by the Act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 631, chapter 382) (commonly known as the River and Harbor Act of 1910 ), the Act of January 1, 1927 (44 Stat. 1010, chapter 47) (commonly known as the River and Harbor Act of 1927 ), and the Act of July 3, 1930 (46 Stat. 918, chapter 847), the Secretary shall carry out for a period of not less than 10 years, a pilot program to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat in the middle Mississippi River.

(b)

Authorized activities

(1)

In general

As part of the pilot program carried out under subsection (a), the Secretary shall conduct any activities that are necessary to improve navigation through the project while restoring and protecting fish and wildlife habitat in the middle Mississippi River.

(2)

Inclusions

Activities authorized under paragraph (1) shall include—

(A)

the modification of navigation training structures;

(B)

the modification and creation of side channels;

(C)

the modification and creation of islands;

(D)

any studies and analyses necessary to develop adaptive management principles; and

(E)

the acquisition from willing sellers of any land associated with a riparian corridor needed to carry out the goals of the pilot program.

(c)

Cost-Sharing requirement

The cost-sharing requirements under the provisions of law described in subsection (a) for the project described in that subsection shall apply to any activities carried out under this section.

8.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act such sums as are necessary.