Water Resources Development Act of 2018
Congress appears to be on track to pass a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), as the House passed the H.R. 8 (115), the 2018 WRDA bill, by a 408-2 vote on June 6. Congress generally aims to pass a WRDA bill, which authorizes federal (Army Corps of Engineers) navigation, flood control and protection, ecosystem restoration, and other types of water projects, every two years.
H.R. 8 includes some Florida-specific provisions including hurricane and storm damage risk reduction in St. Lucie and St. Johns Counties, as well expediting construction of the water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee with the goal of reducing water discharges from the lake. The reservoir project was previously authorized in 2017 state legislation as a priority of outgoing Florida Senate President Joe Negron.
The Senate WRDA bill, S. 2800 (115), was advanced unanimously out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, but is not expected to be taken up on the Senate floor until July. Like H.R. 8, S. 2800 includes provisions expediting construction of the water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. Once the Senate passes S. 2800, the chambers will convene a conference committee to resolve differences in the two bills.