Water Infrastructure Podcast

Rep. Bob Gibbs talks WRDA bill and the woes of WOTUS

Ports, dams and waterways are critical to American communities and the nation’s economy. In this episode of NSSGA’s podcast, Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, talks about the Water Resources Development Act that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 6, 2018, and invests $2.7 billion in our water infrastructure.

“A lot of people around the country don’t even really think about maritime transportation unless you live at a port or live on the river,” he said. “But if we had a major hiccup on the river system it would have a huge impact on most of the country.”

The U.S. Senate is expected to take up the bill this summer.

Gibbs also discusses the history of the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Gibbs, like NSSGA, is an advocate of streamlining the federal permitting process and rewriting the WOTUS rule. As an example of the uncertainty that the 2015 rule created, he discusses the possibility that homeowners could have needed a federal permit to build a fence. “When you dig out the hole, you’re dredging, under the law. Then when you fill around the post, you’re now filling. So that’s filling and dredging. If you’re in a Water of the United States designation area that could require a 404 permit.” The EPA is expected to rewrite the 2015 rule this year so that it protects waters and provides more clarity for industries.