The U.S. Senate could vote this week on the Water Infrastructure bill introduced by Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe in a move to increase water storage in the West and making the Army Corps of Engineers more transparent.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved the measure in May in a bipartisan effort.
Sen. Inhofe, who chairs the panel’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee introduced the bill along with Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland. Several others signed on as sponsors including Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 calls upon the National Academy of Sciences to produce reports examining how the Army Corps of Engineers can improve transparency to work with stakeholders, Congress and local governments.
The bill calls for a drinking water pilot program, under the guidance of the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, in certain regions for Indian tribes. It also requests studies on the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, including one by the Governmental Accountability Office to assess how the law could be used better in both rural and small communities.