Delaware • New Jersey • Pennsylvania
New York • United States of America
For Immediate Release
March 19, 2009
(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) -- Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive Director Carol R. Collier today announced that the U.S. Congress approved legislation providing $715,000 to fulfill the federal obligation to support the commission’s current expense budget for the first time since 1996. The funding was contained in the fiscal year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill signed into law by President Obama on March 11.
“This is wonderful news and the culmination of years of work by many individuals,” Collier said. “We thank all the senators and representatives who supported this legislation. In particular, we would like to recognize and thank Reps. Rush Holt (N.J.-12), Charlie Dent (Pa.-15), Maurice Hinchey (N.Y.-22), and Michael Castle (Del.-At Large), who serve as co-chairs of the Delaware River Basin Congressional Task Force, and Rep. Tim Holden (Pa.-17), who made this a top legislative priority. We also would like to thank Reps. Jim Gerlach (Pa.-6), Allyson Schwartz (Pa.-13), Robert Brady (Pa.-1), John Hall (N.Y.-19), and Christopher Carney (Pa.-10) who all supported our request with House Appropriations leadership.”
“In addition, federal funding restoration would not have been possible without the efforts of Senator Arlen Specter (Pa.), who was joined by Senators Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Tom Carper (Del.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Robert Casey, Jr. (Pa.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), and former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) in supporting our request before Senate appropriators. Vice President Joseph Biden also was a staunch advocate of funding restoration while serving as Delaware’s senior senator,” Collier added.
“On behalf of the DRBC commissioners and staff, I would also like to thank the many individuals and organizations who wrote letters and voiced their support of the commission over the years,” Collier said.
Funding also was restored to two other mid-Atlantic river basin commissions created by compact with federal membership. Like the DRBC, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) had their operating budget support from the federal government suspended since 1996. Congress had previously authorized funding for all three commissions in their respective compacts and in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007. “The three commissions worked together to reach out to their respective congressional delegations to garner support for this funding restoration effort and the DRBC is grateful to those senators and members of Congress representing the SRBC and ICPRB drainage areas who also backed the DRBC’s request,” Collier said.
The DRBC’s creation in 1961 marked the first time that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in river basin regulation, planning, development, and dispute resolution, changing the Delaware Valley from an area of conflict to a model of federal-state cooperation. Today, this contrasts sharply with cross-border water crises in other parts of the country that continue to cost the federal government millions of dollars, while tying up the federal courts in ongoing litigation and running up huge costs to the parties and states involved.
The commission serves federal, regional, state, and local interests by providing comprehensive, proactive water resources management in the Delaware River Basin without regard to political boundaries. DRBC programs include water quality protection, monitoring and assessment, water supply allocation, flood loss reduction, drought management, water conservation initiatives, watershed planning, and habitat restoration.
Additional information can be found on the commission’s web site at www.drbc.net.
Contact: Clarke Rupert, DRBC, 609-883-9500 ext. 260, firstname.lastname@example.org