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When Boehner crows it is time to check on the chicks

When Boehner crows it is time to check on the chicks


I am not a scholar on public policy or even transportation.  However I have learned to watch  the sleight of hand that occurs in DC.  When  our policy makers pass legislation but only crow about there being no ear marks, I hear warning bells. 
As of this writing I have not fully read the bill but a few key things about it demand questioning.   I pulled from http://www.agri-pulse.com/Lawmakers-release-final-WRRDA-conference-report-to-upgrade-ports-waterways-05152014.asp the following questions and quotes.
As I read on the website, I was immediately drawn to this statement:
“Several agricultural groups and the Waterways Council expressed support for the conference report - even though many were still digging through the details.” – www.agri-pulse.com
It seems I am not alone in fully reviewing the legislation that passed in the house.  As of May 15th 20014 neither had several agricultural groups and the Waterways Council.                                                                                                                
I skimmed down to the key points of the legislation.  There were some that raised immediate red flags.
Key points taken from www.agri-pulse.com:
·         Streamlines environmental reviews and improves coordination
o   Shall we expect reduced safety and environmental requirements?
·         Reduces the inventory of properties that are not needed for the missions of the Army Corps of Engineers.
o   What happens to this inventory?  Is it auctioned off to private entities?  Will these entities be non-American? 
·         Maximizes the ability of non-federal interests to contribute their own funds to move studies and projects forward
o   Red flag. Red flag.  Is this line an invite for private entities to pay for studies to support projects?
·         Expands the ability of non-federal interests to contribute funds to expedite the evaluation and processing of permits
o   Again, red flag.  This line seems to allow for the payment of approval of projects  by private entities. 
·         Establishes a Water Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership Program and new options to expand the local role in project implementation
o   Again, red flag.  This line seems to say let’s get the public to pay for private use infrastructure.
·         Consolidates or eliminates duplicative or unnecessary studies and requires concurrent reviews
o   Line is confusing.  It seems on the surface to reduce the requirement for studies prior to the start of a project.  It seems to allow for projects to be pushed through without proper studies 


I don’t claim to be a scholar.  I am one who questions why and what in our public policy.  We should all ask and we should engage our elected officials about legislation.   I have not fully reviewed the legislation.  It is my hope those who focus on such things step-up to ask questions as well.  At a time when drought it becoming a fact of life in America, we must question policy regarding water.
As usual, please read the links.   


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