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Lock and Dam Bill Moving Forward, But Needs Legislative Action

House conferees chosen for WRDA bill. Farmers urged to contact lawmakers to promote the measure in advance of conference committee meeting.

The House of Representatives has named the conferees and agreed to conference the Water Resources Development Act with the Senate. Given that news, the National Corn Growers Association has issued a legislative action call alert to get rowers to contact their legislators and voice their support of the measure.

WRDA has been a top priority piece of legislation for NCGA as well as other major commodity groups including the American Soybean Association. The bill includes legislation that authorizes construction of seven new 1,200-foot locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

The bill, which has not gotten much support from the Bush Administration, has been limping through Congress for some time. Naming the House conferees signals a step forward in the process to get the bill passed in the 109th Congress. After the Senate names its conferees the two chambers will meet to pass the conference report and send it to President George W. Bush's desk. Once Senate conferees are named, NCGA reports the measure could be finished by the end of September.

NCGA is asking growers to alert lawmakers to provisions the group is concerned about. One is the Senate's Corps of Engineers reform provisions, which NCGA says would go "well beyond advertised 'reform' objectives and have the unintended consequence of throttling other provisions that authorize critically needed infrastructure modernization and flood control measures across the nation."

The House conferees for WRDA are: Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Edward Young, R-Alaska; and Ranking Member James Oberstar, D-Minn.; Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr., R-Tenn., and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas; Reps. Richard Baker, R-La.; Gary G. Miller, R-Calif.; Henry Brown, R-S.C.; John Boozman, R-Ark.; Jerry Costello, D-Ill.; Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y.; Richard Pombo, R-Calif.; Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo.; and Ron Kind, D-Wis.

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