Essex River, Essex, Massachusetts

Vote Explanation for H.R. 5303 — Water Resources Development Act of 2016

From maritime trade and commercial fishing, to recreational boating and eco-tourism, the Sixth District of Massachusetts relies on the continued upkeep of our rivers, harbors, and coastlines to spur economic growth and protect our communities from the effects of climate change.

This week, the House passed H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, which authorizes approximately $5 billion in federal funding for the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USCAE) projects, improves the safety of our nation’s drinking water, and provides more resources to mitigate the effects of coastal erosion. Additionally, this legislation authorizes $170 million to replace water infrastructure in communities like Flint, Michigan that have declared a state of emergency as a result of the presence of lead and other contaminants in their water.

H.R. 5303 also contains legislation I introduced earlier this year that would allow for dredging in the Essex River. The Essex River Jobs and Recreation Act would allow for re-designated boundaries around the federal channel in order to eliminate encroachment issues from piers and docks, freeing the Town of Essex to dredge the upper part of the river as it approaches the downtown Causeway.

Dredging the Essex River is critical for public safety. Coast Guard vessels currently cannot reach boats in distress in many parts of the river. By making the channel more navigable, we’ll ensure a safer environment for all who enjoy it. The legislation will also help local job growth and economic development, while being conscious of the need to preserve and protect this unique and valuable resource.

For these reasons, I voted in support of H.R. 5303. The legislation makes vital investments in our water infrastructure that benefits our economy, our health, and our district.