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Congress Gives Corps of Engineers New Law for Erosion Protection and Storm Damage Reduction Projects


ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, has received
guidance for implementing a new law for planning and constructing erosion
protection and storm damage reduction projects in Alaska. Congress passed
Section 116 of the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies
Appropriations Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-85) on Oct. 28, 2009 to replace
the previous law, called Section 117, which Congress repealed on Mar. 11,
2009. Corps headquarters developed the guidance and the Assistant Secretary
of the Army for Civil Works approved it.

The new law has significant differences from the previous law. Section 116
requires these projects be cost shared between the federal government and
local sponsors. Design and construction costs are shared at 65 percent
federal funds and 35 percent local funds while planning is cost shared at
50-50. Previously, these projects, under Section 117, were accomplished at
100 percent federal funding. While Section 116 gives the Corps direction to
execute projects, it does not provide the funds.

Section 116 allows the Corps to deal with projects of any size. Previously,
other than Section 117, the Corps' stream bank erosion projects had a limit
of $1.5 million per project while hurricane and storm damage reduction
projects had a limit of $3 million.

In the process of determining if there is a federal interest in constructing
a project, Section 116 allows the Corps to consider alternate benefits of
safety, subsistence, public health, and social/cultural categories, in
addition to economic alternatives that cost the least. This more deliberate
process could take longer to complete before a project could be authorized,
funded and constructed.

The new law allows the Corps to protect private property and buildings (with
cost sharing), while some of the previous authorities restricted the projects
to protecting public property and facilities only.

Section 116 guidance is posted on our website under the heading of
"Implementation Guidance" at http://www.poa.usace.army.mil/en/cw/index.htm.

For more information about the Corps of Engineers' Alaska District, visit
http://www.poa.usace.army.mil.

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