04.02.19

Schiff, Roybal-Allard, Gomez, and 12 LA Congressional Members Urge Funding for Los Angeles River Restoration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (CA-28), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), and Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) were joined by 12 colleagues from the Los Angeles area in sending a letter urging the House Appropriations Committee to provide strong funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Fiscal Year 2020. These funds, including $130 million for preconstruction investigations and $2.6 billion for construction, will help Congress support the Corps’ important ongoing civil works projects across the nation, including the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Project, which will revitalize more than 700 acres of open space along a broad stretch of the Los Angeles River from Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles.

“For years, the City of Los Angeles has worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to plan the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Project, which will restore the LA River to its original and natural beauty,” said Rep. Schiff. “I remain committed to ensuring this important work receives adequate federal funding to give residents across the region access to much-needed green space.”

“I will not stand by as the president’s budget attacks Army Corps of Engineers funding accounts that will help us restore the LA River,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.  “I’ve worked for years in the effort to transform the river into a green space that will brighten and strengthen our Southeast communities.  I will continue fighting for robust federal funding for the Army Corps, so we can support much-needed investments in LA River revitalization and similar aquatic ecosystem restoration projects around the country.”

“The Los Angeles River is much more than a vestige of our city’s past — it is a symbol of our future and the boundless potential that still awaits the region,” said Rep. Gomez. “By transforming miles of concrete canals back into lush, green spaces, a restored Los Angeles River will give our constituents a place to reconnect with nature, celebrate our communities, and learn about our city’s history. I urge the Appropriations Committee to provide the Army Corps of Engineers with the funding necessary to turn this dream into a reality.”

“The L.A. River is a national treasure running through the heart of our city — and a destination where Angelenos and visitors alike can interact with nature and connect our storied history with a more sustainable future,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The leadership of our congressional delegation will help us restore the river and revitalize this essential natural, civic, and cultural resource.”

In addition to Schiff, Roybal-Allard and Gomez, the letter was signed by Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Judy Chu (CA-27), Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Katie Hill (CA-25), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Brad Sherman (CA-30), and Maxine Waters (CA-43).

Background:

In 2014, after years of evaluation and planning, the City of Los Angeles and the Army Corps decided to move forward with an ambitious restoration plan for the Los Angeles River, and to split the costs of the project. Last year, the City and the Corps formally agreed to begin the project, starting with preconstruction engineering and design, followed by construction. However, the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 does not include specific funding for the LA River restoration project, which had been included in prior years, and recommends massive overall cuts to the Corps’ Investigations and Construction budget accounts. By requesting that the Appropriations Committee again provide robust funding for the Army Corps, the Los Angeles Congressional Delegation can ensure that the LA River project has the opportunity to receive the federal support it needs.

The full text of the letter is below:

The Honorable Marcy Kaptur
Chairwoman
Committee on Appropriations,
Subcommittee on Energy and Water
Development, and Related Agencies 
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Mike Simpson

Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations,
Subcommittee on Energy and Water
Development, and Related Agencies 
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairwoman Kaptur and Ranking Member Simpson:

As you prepare your fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill, we urge you to provide at least $130 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Investigations account and $2.6 billion for its Construction account.

As you know, the Investigation account supports crucial Preconstruction Engineering and Design (PED) activities for ongoing aquatic ecosystem restoration projects. The Construction account funds project implementation and stormwater management in partnership with state and local governments, as well as innovative public-private funding partnerships that can help accelerate infrastructure improvements. Yet the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2020 includes only $77 million for Investigations and $1.17 billion for Construction, which is not enough to support this ongoing and much-needed work.

 

Aquatic ecosystem restoration is one of the most important aspects of the Corps’ mission. Many of our nation’s once pristine waterways are now damaged and distressed, to the detriment of the ecosystems and residents nearby. Restoring these neglected ecosystems to their original condition will help protect our natural resources, promote environmental sustainability, and spur local economic growth and new jobs around these spaces.

 

From our nation’s heartland to the coast of California, our lands and waters are truly breathtaking. All Americans should take pride in the stewardship of the environment. This includes restoring ecosystems in places where access to nature has been on the decline, like cities and urbanized areas, and where local sponsors are shouldering an outsized cost share because of high land value. With projects like the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Project and others that have signed favorable Chief’s Reports, providing adequate funding for these critical accounts will reflect the importance of bringing these projects from concept to reality.

 

Accordingly, we request that you provide at least $130 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Investigations account and $2.6 billion for its Construction account for fiscal year 2020 to provide support for aquatic ecosystem restoration projects nationwide, including the Los Angeles River.

 

Thank you for your consideration of our request.

 

Sincerely,

 

Adam B. Schiff
Member of Congress

 

Lucille Roybal-Allard
Member of Congress

 

Jimmy Gomez
Member of Congress