December 16, 2022

Duckworth, Durbin Tout Illinois Wins Secured in Water Resources Bill


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)—Chair of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife as well as founding Co-Chair of the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus—and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) highlighted several critical provisions they successfully included in the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022 which passed the Senate last night. These provisions will help bring environmental justice to marginalized communities and lower costs for major infrastructure projects in Illinois as well as throughout the country and more. WRDA passed EPW unanimously in May and the package now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“I’m pleased the Senate sent the Water Resources Development Act to the President’s desk because it will boost our economy, protect public health and create jobs through investments in our nation’s water infrastructure,” said Duckworth. “I was particularly proud that many of the provisions I led to address environmental injustice were included, making communities at the forefront of these climate change resiliency issues a priority. I’m proud this bill is finally headed to the President’s desk and I look forward to President Biden signing it into law.”

“I’m pleased to see the Water Resources Development Act, chock-full of funding for water infrastructure projects in Illinois, pass the Senate. This legislation will help modernize water infrastructure in Illinois and protect lands prone to dangerous flooding. WRDA will also continue funding the Brandon Road Project, which protects one of our region’s most valuable resources, the Great Lakes, from the economic and environmental threat of invasive Asian Carp,” said Durbin. “I’m encouraged by WRDA’s investment in the economic and environmental future of Illinois.”

Key Duckworth and Durbin provisions in this year’s WRDA include:

  1. Increasing the federal cost share of the Brandon Road Project to 90 percent federal and 10 percent non-federal: in WRDA 2020, the Senators secured the cost share change for this critical regional project to 80 percent federal and 20 percent non-federal, now the local match will decrease further to 10 percent. The project will construct a new engineered channel at Joliet’s Brandon Road Lock, which will be used to test and deploy new technologies that will prevent the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.
  2. Creating Chicago Shoreline local match reduction: would direct the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to use the locally preferred plan for the remaining Chicago Shoreline projects, ensuring local input in these projects and saving Chicago an estimated $82 million.
  3. Prioritizing Chicago shoreline storm damage reduction project: instructs the Corps to prioritize funding for the project and expediting the General Reevaluation Report (GRR) needed to expand the project and mitigate the significant impacts of climate change on the Chicago Shoreline.
  4. Creating shoreline resiliency authority for the Great Lakes: allows USACE to carry out projects for the protection and restoration of coastal shorelines and riverbanks, including non-structural and structural solutions.
  5. Increasing authorization levels for Madison and St. Clair Counties Section 219 Authority: would increase environmental infrastructure project authority in the Metro East from $45 million to $100 million, which can benefit municipalities like Cahokia Heights.
  6. Expanding Cook County’s Section 219 authority and increased authorization: expansion will include Lake County and increases the total projects authorization from $35 million to $100 million.
  7. Project Authorization for Fox River Restoration: to assist non-Federal interests in carrying out environmental restoration in the Fox River.
  8. Requesting priority completion of Ecosystem Restoration projects: specifically on the Fox and Chicago rivers.
  9. Directs Multi-Agency Coordination on Bubbly Creek Project Environmental Remediation: directs USACE to coordinate with federal, regional, and state authorities on toxics remediation when carrying out the Bubbly Creek project for ecosystem restoration on South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River.
  10. Project Authorization for the Village of Dixmoor: to assist non-Federal interests in carrying out water-related resource protection and development projects.
  11. Increasing authorization for Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program: would increase funding authorization for UMRR from $45 million to $100 million. This project plays a vital role in promoting projects to improve the viability and vitality of the Upper Mississippi River System’s diverse and significant fish and wildlife resources. UMRR is currently funding the restoration of Quincy Bay.
  12. Upper Mississippi River and Illinois River water level management: as part of the operation and maintenance, USACE is instructed to carry out water level management to assist in restoration of ecosystem and damage caused by sedimentation.
  13. Upper Mississippi River and Illinois River water level management: as part of the operation and maintenance, USACE is instructed to carry out water level management to assist in restoration of ecosystem and damage caused by sedimentation.