Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The United States Senate today passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which included five McCain provisions that reauthorize the Rio de Flag Flood Control Project, authorize funds for tribal wastewater certification, expedite permits for the removal of up to 500 acres of Salt Cedar, reduce Nogales’ financial burden for the IOI sewage pipeline and the accelerate reimbursements to tribes and states for water quality monitoring connected to the Gold King Mine spill.

Rio de Flag  

WRDA reauthorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rio de Flag project in Flagstaff. After reauthorization, this project will be eligible for federal funding next year and will be back on track for final completion. In May of this year, after eight years of delay, Senator McCain ensured that the Army Corps cleared the Limited Reevaluation Report (LRR) for inclusion into WRDA.

“I am pleased that after eight years, we are finally on track to provide the federal funding needed for the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Rio de Flag Flood Control Project,” said Senator McCain. “This project, which has languished due to bureaucratic delays, is critical for the City of Flagstaff to mitigate potentially disastrous flood damage that could destroy land and infrastructure and directly impact the local and regional economy. I will continue to monitor the progress of this important project, and look forward to the completion of the Rio de Flag Flood Control Project.”

See what Flagstaff leaders are saying about Senator McCain’s efforts here.

Tribal Set Aside for Wastewater Certification

The bill also includes language that allows tribes to use a portion of funds under the Safe Drinking Water Act for wastewater technician training and certification programs, a priority for tribes across the nation and the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona.

“Arizona’s tribal governments have a vital role to play in Arizona’s water future,” said Senator McCain.  “Many tribal governments operate or intend to construct drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities. This provision in WRDA ensures federal support for tribal organizations that offer training and certification to water treatment technicians. I am glad the provision made it into the bill and look forward to working with tribal leaders to advance this partnership and working together on other water issues.”

See what tribal leaders are saying about Senator McCain’s efforts here.

Salt Cedar

Senators McCain and Flake filed an amendment to the bill that gives the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the authority to expedite permits for mechanical salt cedar removal for projects up to 500 acres.  It also authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work closer with non-profits who work in the field of invasive species removal.

“Accelerating the removal of salt cedar is an important step in safeguarding Arizona’s water supply,” saidSenator McCain. “Adult salt cedar trees are estimated to consume about 200 gallons of water a day. The Central Arizona Project estimates that removing salt cedar and replanting with native vegetation, like cottonwood and willows, could save up to 860,000 acre-feet of water across the Lower Basin. I’ve seen salt cedar removal projects work in places like the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area where 400 acres of salt cedar stretching two-stories high were restored as a wetlands habitat that now supports the recovery of endangered species.”

See what leaders are saying about Senator McCain’s efforts here.

Nogales Wash

Senators McCain and Flake’s amendment to WRDA reduces Nogales’s unfair financial burden for the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI) sewage pipeline located underneath the Nogales Wash along the Arizona-Mexico border. Under an existing agreement between International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and Nogales, the city is responsible for a disproportionate percentage of the operating costs of the IOI.  The amendment would prohibit the IBWC from charging Nogales for capital improvement costs, and directs IBWC to reimburse Nogales up to $4 million for maintenance costs that exceed the city’s average daily sewage flow.

“At its core, the 1953 financial arrangement between Nogales and IBWC is outdated and unfair,” said Senator McCain. “Nogales residents should not have to pay for runoff and sewage not under their control. I believe that our amendment finally brings fairness to the people of Nogales who are dealing with out of touch bureaucrats mismanaging a crumbling infrastructure.”

See what leaders are saying about Senator McCain’s efforts here.

Gold King Mine Spill

Senator McCain cosponsored the Gardner-Hatch-Udall amendment to WRDA that accelerates reimbursements to tribes and states for water quality monitoring connected to the Gold King Mine spill.

“The Navajo Nation and the Southern Ute and many others have had to deal with the personal and financial devastation caused by the Gold King Mine spill,” said Senator McCain. “It is only fair that reimbursements for water quality monitoring, necessary only because of the EPA-caused spill, be accelerated so that these communities can rebuild faster. The EPA has done a poor job of taking responsibility for the spill, cleaning up the toxins, helping the farmers and families affected, and remaining transparent throughout this process and our tribes deserve better.”

See what leaders are saying about Senator McCain’s efforts here.


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