Cornyn Introduces Bill to Expedite Federal Coastal Protection Project in Texas

corynLegislation Would Speed Up Army Corps’ Feasibility Study, Streamline Authorization Process for Final Project

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) this week introduced legislation to speed up the process by which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers studies and begins construction of a federally-funded coastal protection project along the Texas Gulf Coast.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) this week introduced legislation to speed up the process by which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers studies and begins construction of a federally-funded coastal protection project along the Texas Gulf Coast.

“Texans along our coast live under the constant threat of weather-related devastation to their homes, their livelihoods, and their communities,” Sen. Cornyn said. “By reducing inefficiency and eliminating duplication, we can speed up the Army Corps’ process to ultimately help bring families, businesses, and communities along the coast the peace of mind they deserve.”

Background on the COAST Act

Earlier this year the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with the Texas General Land Office, began the Coastal Texas Ecosystem Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study (Coastal Texas Study). The Coastal Texas Study, required by the Corps as a prerequisite to any federally-funded coastal protection project, will recommend a comprehensive strategy for reducing flood risks and mitigating damages due to coastal storms and erosion along the entire Texas Gulf Coast.

This is in addition to ongoing coastal protection efforts being conducted at the state and local level. After finalizing the study, the Corps will proceed with the Preconstruction, Engineering & Design (PED) phase before awarding the first construction contract. Normally, Congressional approval would be necessary, but the COAST Act would eliminate this step and allow construction to begin.

Feasibility Study. The COAST Act would expedite the mandatory pre-construction review process by requiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take into consideration studies already developed by the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District (GCCPRD) while completing its Coastal Texas Protection & Restoration Study. This provision was also included in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee April 29.

Authorization of Recommendations. The COAST Act would expedite completion of the reports for the Coastal Texas Protection & Restoration Study and streamline the congressional approval process by allowing the final recommended project to proceed to the building phase without additional authorization.

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