Senate Appropriators Fund High Hazard Dam Rehab Program

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This week, the Senate Committee on Appropriations passed its Fiscal Year 2019 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. The $48.334 billion bill, which is an increase of $611 million compared to the FY18 enacted level, includes $250 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis, which is a $12.5 million decrease from the FY18 enacted level, as well as $250 million for FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, which is a $1.2 million increase from the FY18 enacted level.

ASCE is incredibly pleased that the bill includes $15 million for the High Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Program, a program enacted in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016 that provides federal grant assistance for the rehabilitation, repair, or removal of non-federal high hazard potential dams. High hazard potential dams are those whose failure is anticipated to cause a loss of life. This marks the first time since the program’s enactment that it has received a line-item funding amount in the Homeland Security appropriations bill.

Earlier this year, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) led a group of 16 Senators in sending a letter to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security requesting the High Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Program’s  full $25 million authorization in FY19. ASCE has been a strong advocate for this program on Capitol Hill, first in securing authorization for the program and now in working to ensure funding for it. ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card gave nation’s 90,580 dams a grade of “D,” and ASDSO estimates that it would cost nearly $22 billion to rehabilitate just the high hazard potential dams in the nation. The High Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Program is a vital tool in protecting local communities and their economies and would be a step in the right direction towards repairing our nation’s infrastructure. Tell your Senators to support the FY19 Homeland Security appropriations bill, which includes funding for the High Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Program, when it makes its way to the Senate floor!

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