Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations [December 5, 2011]   [open pdf - 361KB]

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertakes activities to maintain navigable channels, reduce flood and storm damage, and restore aquatic ecosystems. Congress directs the Corps through authorizations, appropriations, and oversight of its studies, construction projects, and other activities. Historically, the agency's authorizations and appropriations have been largely project[-]based, with the projects being in specific locations. There is some uncertainty about legislation related to the Corps during the 112th Congress, in light of the House Republican Conference standing order in its conference rule and the Senate Republican Conference resolution supporting a moratorium on Member earmark requests. This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the Corps and explains the standard Corps project development process. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities. […] Congress generally authorizes Corps activities and provides policy direction in Water Resources Development Acts (WRDAs). Beginning in 1986, a biennial WRDA consideration was loosely followed; enactment has been less regular. The most recent WRDA was enacted in 2007 (P.L. 110-114). Pressure to authorize new projects, increase authorized funding levels, and modify existing projects promotes fairly regular WRDA consideration. WRDAs historically have been omnibus bills including many provisions for site[-]specific activities. Authorizations of many Corps activities were included under the House Republican Conference 2010 moratorium on Members requesting earmarks. Congress also authorizes some studies through resolutions passed by an authorizing committee. […] Congress has granted the Corps some general authorities to undertake some studies, small projects, technical assistance, and emergency actions such as flood-fighting and repair of damaged levees. Additionally, the Corps conducts emergency response actions directed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41243
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