WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following comments today regarding a letter sent from the EPW Chairman and Ranking Member to the Corps of Engineers concerning the use of federal reservoirs near Atlanta:
“This important letter from Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Vitter correctly calls for an interstate water compact by the states to address the ongoing water dispute in our region. They are also correct to urge the Corps to serve as a ‘neutral facilitator of a negotiated solution.’ Regrettably, the Corps has too often sided with Atlanta by accommodating massive water withdrawals without congressional approval. This should not continue unabated. Chairman Boxer has committed to me that her committee, which has jurisdiction over the Corps of Engineers, will hold a hearing on this topic in the near future. Absent action by the states, the committee has stated its willingness to act legislatively.”
Sessions obtained revisions to Section 2014 of the bill to ensure that the Corps does not receive additional discretion to increase water supply storage at Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona, even while the Corps was able to obtain that authority for other reservoirs elsewhere in the United States. Sessions also joined Senators Rubio, Nelson, and Shelby in co-sponsoring an amendment that would have clarified when congressional approval is required before the Corps is allowed, on its own, to set aside large amounts of a federal reservoir for local water supply. This amendment contained similar language to the provision approved by the Senate EPW Committee in March.
The letter has been attached to this article.