US President Barack Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) into law on Tuesday, June 10. This bill is significant for its lack of earmarks, its extraordinary bipartisan and bicameral support, its approval of all major projects the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) had been waiting on, and its specific mention of geosynthetics.
Said the President, “…this bill gives a green light to 34 water infrastructure projects across the country, including projects to deepen Boston Harbor and the Port of Savannah, and to restore the Everglades. And with Congress’s authorization, these projects can now move forward. So this bill will help towns and cities improve their commerce, but it’s also going to help them prepare for the effects of climate change — storms, floods, droughts, rising sea levels — creating more adaptability, more resilience in these communities.”
To fight climate change, protect the nation, and improve the competitiveness of the country’s ports and related infrastructure, USACE will have Section 130 of the bill to lean on. In it, under “Resilient Construction and Use of Innovative Materials,” the bill instructs the USACE to consider “durable, resilient, and sustainable materials and practices, including the use of geosynthetics, advanced composites, and innovative technologies” in carrying out its work.