U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is working to find yet more ways to combat Asian carp that plague local waters as well as several other water infrastructure projects in western Kentucky.
Funding to do so was included in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA 2020), which was approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today. The legislation must now be approved by the full Senate.
“Kentucky workers and families at the heart of our nation’s inland waterways system stand to greatly benefit from the passage of the Senate’s water infrastructure legislation,” said McConnell, who is facing opposition in both next month’s primary election as well as an assured opponent in November. “Working with my Senate colleagues, I was proud to advance Kentucky’s priorities in this bill, supporting good jobs, expanding access to safe drinking water and protecting communities from dangerous flooding across our Commonwealth.”
The legislation authorizes $35 million for and Asian Carp Prevention and Control Pilot Program, which offers innovative projects and technologies that bolster the management, prevention and eradication of Asian carp. Moreover, the provision ensures that at least five of these projects are undertaken in reservoirs like Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.
“Sen. Mitch McConnell proved once again the removal of Asian carp from our western Kentucky waters remains a top priority,” said Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White. “Sen. McConnell not only talks about the importance of removing carp, but he also leads the federal effort to make it happen. I appreciate all he is doing to help western Kentucky and many other states win the War on Carp.”
In the last appropriations bill, McConnell secured $25 million for Asian carp efforts, and he also worked with the Trump administration to deploy the so-called modified unified method in the Commonwealth to help rid Kentucky waters of Asian carp.
McConnell also secured a provision requiring the Secretary of the Army to expedite the completion of its report justifying a new authorization level of over $1.1 billion for the Kentucky Lock project. To date, the Senator has secured hundreds of millions of dollars to complete this critical infrastructure project in western Kentucky that supports 20,000 maritime workers and their families.
Additionally, a cost-share change for major inland waterways projects will alter the formula for the construction and rehabilitation of major inland waterways projects from 50/50 to 65/35. The provision will inject more federal dollars into U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction projects like Kentucky Lock.
This adjustment could help accelerate the Kentucky Lock project by 1-3 years.
“I would like to thank Sen. McConnell, once again, for his indispensable leadership for our nation’s inland waterways system, especially in the Senate’s 2020 WRDA bill,” said Matt Ricketts, President and CEO of Crounse Corporation in Paducah, Kentucky. “Sen. McConnell championed our top priorities, including a provision altering the cost-share requirement for major inland waterways projects, as well as continuing his critical support of the Kentucky Lock project. If enacted, this legislation will ensure that projects such as Kentucky Lock are completed in an efficient and timely manner, accelerating the benefits of such projects to communities in our state and across the nation.”
Further projects across the state include a provision authorizing $75 million for the rehabilitation of flood control pump stations. Flood control pump stations in western Kentucky will be eligible to receive a portion of these funds.