For Part 1, click here
In This Issue: The Latest WRRDA Guidance; Federal Register Announcements; Important Events This Month
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Recent WRRDA 2014 Guidance
Section 1018 -- In-kind Contributions: See Federal Register Announcements below for the announcement. This is a rare instance of the Corps of Engineers publishing guidance in the Federal Register.
Section 1003 - Expedited Completion of Feasibility Study Reports: The Guidance is fairly straightforward. It notes that the new law directs the Secretary to take ongoing studies started before enactment of WRRDA 2014 that the Secretary (meaning the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works) deems are justified and proceed directly into the PED phase (Preconstruction Planning, Engineering and Design). The guidance notes that "Current practice for noncontroversial projects pending authorization is to undertake planning, engineering, and design through plans and specification for initial construction...." However, the guidance also notes that all of this is subject to the "normal development of the annual budget," which means the Administration can use funding availability and budget policies to deny funding PED. Click here for a copy of the guidance.
Section 4010(a) - Development of a Comprehensive Chesapeake Bay Plan: Click here for the guidance on this important program.
Section 1045 - Report on Surface Elevations at Drought Affected Lakes: We site this guidance as an example of similar guidance issued for several other provisions requiring the Corps to do a report on something. Basically the guidance says: We'll do a report when funds are appropriated to do it."
Federal Register Announcements
[Note: Environment Impact statements are published in the Federal Register. Go to the Regulations.gov website and do a search on the specific project name or just the phrase "environmental impact statement." In general, the search capabilities of this website are far superior to those of the Federal Register website.]
Flood Control Act of 1970 -- In-Kind Credits: Section 221(a)(4) of this law was amended by Section 1018 of WRRDA 2014. The amended provision applies to nearly all Corps of Engineers post-1986 authorized studies. design and construction, including those done under any Continuing Authorities Program or the Section 219 program, and the correction of pre-1986 project design deficiencies. There are a number of changes. Those interested are encouraged to see page 78200 of the December 16, 2015 Federal Register. In-kind contributions can be made one the cost-sharing agreement has been executed and a project management plan is developed. The costs of Federal and non-Federal participation in the Coordination Team and in audits are no longer considered eligible for in-kind contributions nor are they part of the study cost except as that cost may be limited by Congress. In general, in-kind contributions in excess of the value of the non-Federal sponsor's overall cost share will not be permitted. As usual, read the fine print! Helpful hint: See the "Key Principles" section of the original proposal for the guidelines to spot what changes are most important.
One-Time Deauthorization of Projects: Last October, the Corps published a Interim List of Deauthorized Projects. With the comment period now closed, look for a final list to be published over the next few weeks. The publication of this list was required by Section 6001 of WRRDA 2014.
Upcoming Events this Month
January 12th: The President's State of the Union Address to Congress
January 14th: Republican presidential candidates debate (Fox Business channel)
January 17th: Democratic candidates' debate (NBC)
January 28th: Last Republican candidates' debate (Fox News)
And looking ahead to Feb 1: The Iowa Caucuses kick of the peoples' opportunity to say who they want to run for President