The Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA are under criticism from the U.S. Government Accountability Office for making little progress on a levee-safety program mandated two years ago by Congress, according to a report filed with a Committee chaired by Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe.
The report to his Senate Environment and Public Works Committee accuses the Corps and the Federal Emergency Management Agency of missing deadlines and leaving open the prospect of safety and financial risks. Both had been under orders in the 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act to jointly implement three levee safety programs and issue three related reports. Progress is reported only on one of the programs.
” For example, the agencies took no action on developing the guidelines for the
preparation of floodplain management plans under the levee rehabilitation
assistance program, which were due on December 7, 2014; the voluntary
national levee-safety guidelines, due June 10, 2015; or a report, due June
10, 2015, that was to include, among other things, recommendations for
legislation and other congressional actions necessary to ensure national
levee safety,” stated the GAO report. “Additionally, according to agency officials we interviewed, the agencies have no current plan for implementing the remaining activities. Without a plan, including milestones for accomplishing these activities using existing resources or requesting additional resources as needed, the agencies are unlikely to make further progress on implementing the remaining activities required by the act.”
The Corps maintains “resource constraints” are the primary reason why it has not been able to carry out certain key national levee safety-related activities.