Heath Shuler - WRRDA

Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina
Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina 12th Congressional District

Representative Heath Shuler, (D-NC) gave the following open statement in the House Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment hearing on the Water Resources Development Act of 2008. This hearing statement was made on February 7, 2008:
“As a real estate developer, I am very familiar with the infrastructure requirements for a new development. One of the greatest tools we deployed was long lasting geosynthetics under newly paved roads. The performance of roads built with geosynthetics was always superior to those built without geosynthetics and geosynthetics are better for the environment as well as drainage around roads. Buttressing my personal experience with geosynthetics is evidence from the federal government about the benefits associated with utilizing geosynthetic materials. In the late 1980s the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation undertook a comprehensive series of tests and investigations to evaluate the use of geosynthetic systems to line canals throughout the western United States. The conclusions of the report highlight a 90% reduction in leakage and a lifespan of the systems of 50 years (U.S. Dept. Of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, report R-02-03). In the early 1980s, the U.S. EPA mandated the usage of HDPE liners as subsurface barrier layers in the nation’s landfills and waste storage facilities. This resulted in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) offering the highest grade given to the area of solid waste management in their Report Card on America’s infrastructure. The evidence suggested that requiring the lining of canals, pipelines, reservoirs and dams for water conveyance with geosynthetic materials will improve the lifespan of these infrastructure projects, reduce waste of an increasingly valuable resource and save the taxpayers money by improving the performance of these systems. I hope the Committee will strongly consider taking steps to promote the use of geosynthetics in the Water Resources Development Act of 2008.”
UPDATE: Representative Shuler left Congress after three terms. He is now Senior Vice President of Federal Affairs for Duke Energy, working in Washington DC on behalf of Duke’s government relations programs. – May 2014