Reps. Roybal-Allard, Schiff, Gomez, and Ten More LA-Area Congressmembers urge funding for LA River ecosystem restoration

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Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)Adam Schiff (CA-28), and Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) were joined by ten colleagues from the Los Angeles Area Congressional Delegation in sending a letter urging the House Appropriations Committee to provide at least $121 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 for preconstruction engineering and design projects across the nation, including one related to the Los Angeles River.

“As a leader of the years-long effort to revitalize our beloved LA River, I urge my Appropriations Committee colleagues to keep funding the programs that will help make our dream come true,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard.  “When we revitalize the entire LA River, we will not only create an economic and recreational beacon for my Southeast communities, we will bolster the ecological and environmental status of our entire state.  It is imperative that we provide our Army Corps of Engineers with the funding it needs to work with our local stakeholders to continue work on the River.”

“The City of Los Angeles has already pledged a large contribution to the Los Angeles Ecosystem Restoration Project,” said Rep. Schiff.  “It is now Congress’s responsibility to make sure the Army Corps has the resources to pay their share.  Returning the river to its natural prominence and beauty will take time, and that’s why we must give the Corps the necessary funds so that together we can provide Angelenos the green space they desire and deserve.”

“We are at a critical moment where we can sustainably transform the Los Angeles River from a concrete canal back into a place of community and ecological restoration,” said Rep. Gomez.  “By working to restore these neglected ecosystems, we can bring people together and boost our regional economy.  Investing in the future of the LA River is investing in the future of our communities.”

“The L.A. River is a natural treasure — it is central to our city’s history, and holds extraordinary potential for the future of the communities that surround it and everyone who lives in or visits Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.  “I am grateful to our congressional delegation for their commitment to restoring the river and helping us revitalize a priceless civic and cultural resource.”

Reps. Roybal-Allard, Schiff, and Gomez were joined on the letter by Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27)Maxine Waters (CA-43)Linda Sánchez (CA-38)Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44)Karen Bass (CA-37)Tony Cárdenas (CA-29)Brad Sherman (CA-30)Ted Lieu (CA-33)Julia Brownley (CA-26), and Alan Lowenthal (CA-47).

In 2015, the Army Corps signed the LA River project’s Chief’s Report, and the FY 2017 Army Corps work plan included $400,000 for the LA River in its Preconstruction Engineering and Design (PED) activities. The President’s Budget for FY 2019 did not include specific funding for the LA River project, and recommended only $82 million for project planning and engineering.  By requesting that the Appropriations Committee include $121 million, the LA Delegation can ensure the LA River project has the opportunity to receive more robust funding for FY 2019.

The full text of the congressmembers’ letter follows:

Dear Chairman Simpson and Ranking Member Kaptur:

As you prepare your Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations bill, we strongly urge you to provide at least $121 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Investigations account to support ongoing Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration projects and Preconstruction Engineering and Design activities. The President’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget only requests $82 million for this overall account, and we have concerns that it does not reflect nor address the scope of funding necessary to complete many project designs. 

 Aquatic ecosystem restoration is one of the most important aspects of the Corps’ mission. Many of our nation’s once pristine waterways are damaged and distressed, not only affecting our ecological health, but also those who live in the surrounding areas. By working to restore these neglected ecosystems to their original condition, we can protect our natural resources, promote environmental sustainability, and spur local economic and job growth around these spaces.

 From our nation’s heartland all the way to Los Angeles, our lands and waters are truly breathtaking. All Americans should have the opportunity to enjoy and 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 Los Angeles Ecosystem Restoration Project and others that have signed favorable Chief’s Reports, a commitment to providing additional funds will reflect the importance of bringing these projects from concept to reality.

As such, we respectfully urge you to provide at least $121 million in funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Fiscal Year 2019 Investigations account including additional support for ongoing aquatic ecosystem restoration projects and Preconstruction Engineering and Design activities. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Adam B. Schiff
Member of Congress

Lucille Roybal-Allard
Member of Congress

Jimmy Gomez
Member of Congress

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