House Panel Moves FY18 Corps of Engineers Funding

June 29, 2017

A House Appropriations subcommittee on June 28 approved a draft appropriations bill the Department of Energy and various water resources agencies for fiscal year 2018. The full Appropriations Committee will consider the bill after the July 4 recess.

The legislation provides a total of $6.16 billion in appropriations for the civil works (water resources) program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an all-time high in nominal dollars (excluding supplemental appropriations for hurricane relief, which can occasionally exceed the regular budget of the Corps).

The appropriators are once again rejecting significant cuts proposed by the President in the Corps water program (President Trump proposed a $5.00 billion budget, down from $6.04 billion in 2017). And it doesn’t matter which President – the Trump $5.00 billion request for 2018 was still well over the $4.62 billion requested by President Obama for 2017. The White House Office of Management and Budget harbors an institutional distrust of Corps programs and the closeness with which the Corps works with its Congressional authorizing and appropriating committees.

In addition to the appropriations for individual Corps budget accounts shown in the table below, there are two new general provisions of note in the Corps title of the bill. Section 108 authorizes the EPA and the Corps of Engineers to withdraw the controversial 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule immediately, without regard to laws like the Administrative Procedures Act that would require a lengthy comment and study period before withdrawal. (EPA and the Corps issued a proposed rule on June 27 that would start the notice-and-comment process.)

And section 107 of the draft bill provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, no permits for discharge of dredged or fill material shall be required for agriculture activities or for the maintenance of drainage ditches.


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