Updates of Key Federal Legislation and Bills and ASDSO's Actions
What can you do: Contact your Congressman or Senator if they serve on key committees. The messages are simple:
- Recommend their support for continuation and funding for the National Dam Safety Program.
- Recommend their sponsorship of a bill to create a National Dam Rehabilitation Program.
- Talk about how dam rehabilitation projects help local jobs, the economic benefits, big natural resource benefits, etc. A brief account of local dams in need of rehabilitation is always a good addition. We would strongly suggest you Fax or email your letters.
National Dam Safety Act
The National Dam Safety Program Act of 2014 (NDSPA), was reauthorized in May of 2014 as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).
View the text of the National Dam Safety Act - (2014 version as it is viewed in context with the 1996, 2002 and 2006 language).
Download Issue Brief
This modest yet vital program (app. $13 million total) enables the states to improve their dam safety programs, which translates into reduced risks to life and property.
The NDSPA provides training; technical assistance; research funding; public awareness; and support to states through incentive grant awards that encourage states to improve their programs. No funds under this act may be used to repair any dams. The funds are targeted to support states and to advance the national effort to improve dam safety.
The National Dam Rehabilitation Program
ASDSO endorses the creation of a national grant program to fund dam rehabilitation. This small program would only focus grant dollars on the most critical publicly-owned dams across the country. This would be a cost-share program (matched with state, non-profit or local funds) and would provide $445 million over ten years and divided among the states.
The legislation was passed and signed into law as part of the WIIN Act. (Section 3004)
Click here to download the fact sheet.
Click here to download the information flyer.
Levee Safety Legislation
2014 - WRRDA 2014 includes language to start a "levee safety initiative." Read the full text of the WRDDA conference report.
2007 - The National Levee Safety Program is promulgated within the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, which was signed into law in November 2007.
The Small Watershed Dam Rehabilitation Program
2014 - Appropriations were approved to maintain funding for this program. Funding provides matching grants to watershed districts to rehabilitate their dams.
For more information about this program go to http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/WSRehab/.
The National Watershed Coalition (of which ASDSO is a member) and ASDSO advocate for full funding for the Small Watershed Programs.
Contact Dan Sebert at NWC for more information:
Dan A. Sebert, Ph.D., CEO-Executive Director, National Watershed Coalition, 1023 Manvel, Suite D, P.O. Box 556, Chandler, OK 74834, 405.627.0670, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.watershedcoalition.org
The National Inventory of Dams
The US Army Corps of Engineers administers the National Inventory of Dams (NID), a database of general information on US regulated dams. The Corps' authorized funding level for this program is $500,000 a year. Current administration funding levels are considerably lower than this.
Currently: ASDSO supports full funding for this program.
Flood Insurance Program Mapping
ASDSO continues to work with the National Flood Mapping Coalition to update and upgrade flood insurance maps. ASDSO supports the updates of overlays to show dam breach inundation areas on all FIRMs. ASDSO does not support mandatory flood insurance for residents living in dam breach flood areas.
USGS Streamgage Program
ASDSO supports the continuation and adequate funding to maintain U.S. streamgages. This program is administered by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Read more at:
ASDSO Submits Recommendations to MSHA. Recommends stronger standards for metal/non-metal dams.
ASDSO Urges Labor Department to Upgrade Design Standards for Mine Dams
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) should adopt stronger engineering safety standards for the construction and operation of impoundment dams at metal and non-metal mines, ASDSO told MSHA this month in a written response to the Federal Register request for input.
According to MSHA, dam failures at metal and nonmetal mines have exposed miners to life-threatening hazards. MSHA started an effort this year to review its existing metal and nonmetal standards for dams. The Agency is concerned that some dams pose hazards because they are not designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to accepted dam safety practices. MSHA is considering approaches to better protect miners from the hazards of dam failures and recently closed the period for solicitation of information to help determine how best to proceed.
MSHA is a division within the Labor Department responsible for the regulation of mine safety to protect mine workers from accidents, including the failure of impoundment dams. Mine dams are typically earthen structures around reservoirs or retention ponds that contain mining wastes or "tailings," the material generated in the removal of minerals from the ground. Impoundment dams at mines are not static; they increase in size as the mine produces more tailings and the waste volume in the reservoirs increases.
Among ASDSO's recommendations was an emphasis on bringing these metal/non-metal dams up to national design standards and stronger working relationships with state dam safety regulators.
Read the text of the ASDSO comments.
MSHA withdraws proposed regulation change. http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2010/08/13/2010-19960/metal-and-nonmetal-dams