6:16 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I rise not to object to the Boehlert amendment. I will not do so, but I do think it is imperative that the House understand the situation relative to funding for the Army Corps of Engineers.

A year ago on this floor, in considering the bill, we had several very serious controversies relative to wetland regulation. When the budget was sent to the United States Congress in January of this year, those rules were not yet in effect. Subsequent to that period of time, they went into effect, and the Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that the additional cost to ensure that there is no delay to developers and contractors and members of the general public would be 6 million additional

dollars over and above the budget request. Those $6 million are not contained in this bill.

To add further to the Corps' problem, in the subcommittee mark there were additional requirements placed on the Corps to the tune of a March 1, 2001, revised report cost analysis for a proposal to issue modified nationwide permits: to wit, by September 30, the year 2001, prepare and submit to Congress and publish in the Federal Register a permit processing management plan; to wit, beginning on December 31, 2001, at the end of each quarter thereafter, and I would acknowledge the gentleman has

lengthened this to a biannual report, report to Congress and published in the Federal Register an analysis of the performance of its programs as registered against the criteria set out in the permit processing management plan; and, four, implement a 1-year pilot program to publish quarterly on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' regulatory program for the South Pacific Division.

Additionally, how we compute time relative to delays that had been complained about was changed in the subcommittee mark. That was an additional burden. We then went to the full committee. The chairman of the committee offered an amendment that was ultimately adopted that further increased that burden by requiring that the Corps Division Office publish on its Web site all findings, rulings and decisions. Additionally, a provision that I do think can potentially have a chilling impact on the appellate

procedure that the Corps shall allow an appellant to keep a verbatim record of the proceedings of the appeals conference under the aforementioned administrative appeals process.

The gentleman has now come forth and, as I indicated, changed a quarterly reporting to biannual. That is an improvement. There were several other improvements, but it also did place another burden on the Corps by also now including the North Atlantic Division as far as those reporting requirements.

So I do not object to what the gentlemen has done. He has added a burden but he has improved the legislation that was reported by the committee.

The Corps does not have the money, and I would just want to emphasize I would hope at some point we have corrected that procedure so there is no delay to those who seek permits.

Finally, I do think the gentleman has made one important change, and that is that we do continue the current counting period as far as when an application for a permit is considered to have been received, because my concern as expressed in the full committee, and would be here, that 12 months from now, 24 months from now when the wetlands issue is potentially debated again, people will come in and say we told you so. If it was not for those two changes in the year 2000, we would not have had

this additional delay, not because of any failing of the Corps or the contractor or developer, but because we changed how those dates are computed. The gentleman in his amendment would compute them in both fashions, the previous fashion as well as the new fashion contained in the committee bill.

So I did want to make sure that people understand for the record that is the situation we find ourselves in. I do not object to what he wants to do.

6:16 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I rise not to object to the Boehlert amendment. I will not do so, but I do think it is imperative that the House understand the situation relative to funding for the Army Corps of Engineers.

A year ago on this floor, in considering the bill, we had several very serious controversies relative to wetland regulation. When the budget was sent to the United States Congress in January of this year, those rules were not yet in effect. Subsequent to that period of time, they went into effect, and the Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that the additional cost to ensure that there is no delay to developers and contractors and members of the general public would be 6 million additional

dollars over and above the budget request. Those $6 million are not contained in this bill.

To add further to the Corps' problem, in the subcommittee mark there were additional requirements placed on the Corps to the tune of a March 1, 2001, revised report cost analysis for a proposal to issue modified nationwide permits: to wit, by September 30, the year 2001, prepare and submit to Congress and publish in the Federal Register a permit processing management plan; to wit, beginning on December 31, 2001, at the end of each quarter thereafter, and I would acknowledge the gentleman has

lengthened this to a biannual report, report to Congress and published in the Federal Register an analysis of the performance of its programs as registered against the criteria set out in the permit processing management plan; and, four, implement a 1-year pilot program to publish quarterly on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' regulatory program for the South Pacific Division.

Additionally, how we compute time relative to delays that had been complained about was changed in the subcommittee mark. That was an additional burden. We then went to the full committee. The chairman of the committee offered an amendment that was ultimately adopted that further increased that burden by requiring that the Corps Division Office publish on its Web site all findings, rulings and decisions. Additionally, a provision that I do think can potentially have a chilling impact on the appellate

procedure that the Corps shall allow an appellant to keep a verbatim record of the proceedings of the appeals conference under the aforementioned administrative appeals process.

The gentleman has now come forth and, as I indicated, changed a quarterly reporting to biannual. That is an improvement. There were several other improvements, but it also did place another burden on the Corps by also now including the North Atlantic Division as far as those reporting requirements.

So I do not object to what the gentlemen has done. He has added a burden but he has improved the legislation that was reported by the committee.

The Corps does not have the money, and I would just want to emphasize I would hope at some point we have corrected that procedure so there is no delay to those who seek permits.

Finally, I do think the gentleman has made one important change, and that is that we do continue the current counting period as far as when an application for a permit is considered to have been received, because my concern as expressed in the full committee, and would be here, that 12 months from now, 24 months from now when the wetlands issue is potentially debated again, people will come in and say we told you so. If it was not for those two changes in the year 2000, we would not have had

this additional delay, not because of any failing of the Corps or the contractor or developer, but because we changed how those dates are computed. The gentleman in his amendment would compute them in both fashions, the previous fashion as well as the new fashion contained in the committee bill.

So I did want to make sure that people understand for the record that is the situation we find ourselves in. I do not object to what he wants to do.